In 20 years, what do we want to remember about 2020?
Whether it is the end-of-school programs that seniors are missing out on, the school work that students had to do at home, or simply the way people lived during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has the chance to add their own pieces of history to a time capsule.
The city of Somerset is collecting items until Tuesday, May 26, items that will be added to its history project known as “2020: The Time We Missed.”
Individuals and families should collect up to five items that can all fit together in a one-gallon storage bag. That bag should be labeled with the family’s name and date.
The bags can be dropped off in crates which will sit outside the main entrance of the Somerset Energy Center.
Part of the project focuses on eighth graders and high school seniors, who are encouraged to write letters to themselves about their current circumstances.
Joy Carroll, Somerset’s community development director, said she wanted to place a focus on those two grades because they are the ones missing out on so many events, like formals for eighth graders and proms and graduations for seniors.
“This will certainly be a time in our lives we will never forget,” Carroll said. “Capturing memories from this period in a time capsule is one way we can preserve history and show a future generation of Somerset residents how we came together as a community to weather this pandemic.”
Carroll said the idea came to her as she was planning a family time capsule with her daughter. She thought about how it would be nice to do a community-wide capsule, and took the idea to Mayor Alan Keck, who encouraged her.
“It feels like a good community event to bring everyone together and focus on the positive,” she said.
While the exact spot to bury the capsule has not been picked out yet, Carroll said the plan is to place it somewhere around the front of the Rocky Hollow Recreation Center located on South Central Avenue.
The ceremony to bury the capsule will take place on June 5 at 11 a.m.
Instead of having the public gather at the site, the city will broadcast the event on the city’s Facebook page.
The city offered examples of the kinds of things to put into the capsule, such as graduation tassels, photos, masks, children’s art projects or work completed while learning from home.
Carroll said that among the items her family submitted is a drawing her daughter did that she was recognized for at school, a letter detailing Carroll’s recent mission trip to Peru and how she would have been giving talks about it if she were able to at this time, a dream catcher and a copy of a video from her daughter’s “birthday parade.”
The reason Carroll chose 20 years from now as the time for the capsule to be dug up is because today’s students would be about middle age then and would appreciate getting their items back.
In fact, it’s why the bags need to be labeled with the family’s name, she said. Those items will be given back to the people who placed them.