An elementary school in the Philadelphia suburb of Warminster recently opened up a time capsule from 1968. Unfortunately for time capsule purists, this uncapsuling was a bit premature. You see, the McDonald Elementary School's time capsule wasn't supposed to be opened until the year 2068.
In this time capsule obsessive's humble opinion, opening any time capsule before it was intended to be unveiled is kind of a jerk move that robs the good people of the future of some fun. But on the upside, we impatient folks of the '10s do get a peek at some retrofuturistic goodness — including some fantastic children's drawings and written predictions for what life might be like in the year 2068.
The sleek bubbletop "futurecar" will be tomorrow's greatest invention, according to one anonymous child of 1960s Pennsylvania. Curiously, this child's car (pictured above) doesn't appear to be of the traditional Jetsonian flying variety. Instead, it looks like it's a wheelless hovercar zipping around of the highway of tomorrow. Another child drew the sea houses of the future, invented so that the people of the mid-21st century could live under the ocean. With Jacques Cousteau all over the airwaves in the late 1960s, many American kids were certain that the ocean would play a vital role in their future.
And this being 1968 — just a year before Americans first set foot on the moon — we see some adorable space travel prognostication in the time capsule drawings. Not only would people of the future be visiting the moon, they'll be able to enjoy a nice picnic.
I think it's fascinating to look at what predictions people of the past put in time capsules for future generations, but it sincerely breaks my heart a tiny bit each and every time these things are opened up early. But sadly, opening time capsules before they're scheduled seems to be a growing trend here in the early 21st century. Just last month a historical society in Onondaga County, New York opened up a time capsule from 1950 that was intended for 2050.
If you or someone you love is thinking about opening a time capsule early, please consult a trusted adult or find a police officer. The next time capsule you save may be your own.
Update: As a commenter points out the likely reason for the premature opening of the time capsule is that the school is closing for good. You can't really blame them, I suppose. But if you have a time capsule that will soon be homeless, please consider donating it to the city or town where it was created so that it can be preserved for future generations and opened when it was intended.