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25 Years Later: The Time Capsule Has Been Opened

25 Years Later: The Time Capsule Has Been Opened
October 13, 2015 Nā Leo Literary Review
In Campus, News, Top Stories


On Friday, Oct. 9, in the UH Maui College Library, a time capsule was opened that had been locked away for 25 years. A group of students and faculty members watched as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs David Grooms and Ellen Peterson, an assistant professor and Phi Theta Kappa adviser, opened the school vault to see what had been left inside.

“This is a great moment in history for all of us,” Peterson said.Vault2

The items within the vault were mostly historical artifacts from the school itself, not souvenirs from the time period. The items were kept in various manila folders, which seemed to be from a different department from the school. There were many documents and pictures, newspaper articles and a few T-shirts from past campus events. There were also several VHS tapes and cassettes.

There are rumors that the time capsule had almost been entirely forgotten about all together. Allegedly, a large, student-made, mosaic painting was placed over the plaque, which designated the location and time specification of the time capsule. The story hasn’t been confirmed to be true, but it was overheard that someone noticed and promptly removed a section of the painting to reveal the plaque.

Grooms was asked why the time capsule wasn’t opened on April 27—the exact date of the original sealing in 1990. He explained that because of it being near the end of the spring semester, it just wasn’t possible to properly arrange the event. “It was around finals week,” Grooms said, “and there wasn’t enough time or manpower.”

The significance of opening it after 25 years was due to the recent anniversary of the school—UH Maui College just recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. “I think to understand the future, we need to look at the past,” Peterson said.

One attendee, who was present during the original sealing of the capsule, was overheard jokingly suggesting that the ­­­next time capsule be placed in a rocket or drone and sent into space.

All in all, many mysteries remain unsolved such as who was responsible for the idea to create a time capsule, who put the items in there, and why they chose to do this in the first place.

When asked whether or not the campus will create a new time capsule to replace the old one, Grooms said it’s a work in progress.

“Yes, we would like to, but we need to find a place and a group to do it,” he said. Grooms explained that a new location may need to be decided first, because it is uncertain if the library will remain untouched for another 25 years. The library may go under maintenance at some point in the next 25 years, he said.

At this time, the items will be analyzed and cataloged, then placed in a viewing area. The decision of where and when the items will be placed for public viewing has not yet been determined. Once a decision has been made and the items have been placed, an email will be sent out to the student body announcing the exhibit to be open to the public. To learn more about the time capsule and its contents, contact Ellen Peterson at epeterso@hawaii.edu.

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