The White Horse Village time capsule committee.

White Horse Village, a continuing care retirement community in Newtown Square, PA, is creating a time capsule to capture the essence of a global pandemic.

The vessel is filled with messages and items from the pandemic that will be stored in the community’s archives and opened in 2030. One of the residents, a retired professional archivist, spearheaded the project with a committee of volunteers.

The time capsule project centered on the theme “Together, We Can,” a phrase that emerged early during the shutdown as a way to encourage residents and team members.

“Little did any of us know just how deadly this strange and previously unknown virus would provide to be,” said Sally Shabaker, the resident who led the project. “Soon, it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic would be historically significant.”

The time capsule contains obvious pandemic-related items such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, a contact-free digital thermometer, masks made by resident quilters, and a comb and scissors for in-home haircuts. Other items include newspapers, a COVID-19 timeline, a flash drive with photos, and five pages of jokes and cartoons.

The items were preserved using archival materials and will be stored in a birch box crafted by White Horse Village woodshop volunteers. 

“We are asking future residents who open the box in 2030 to return the items to the time capsule after they have examined the contents and perhaps laughed at the jokes, smiled at a photograph or pondered the grim facts of the 2020 pandemic,” said Marcia Hoover, a resident who led the effort to build the birch box containing the artifacts. 

After it is viewed in 2030, the capsule will be locked and stored in the archives for another 15 years, to be reopened in 2045. 

Click here to see the In Focus archive and read how to submit your photos for consideration.