This is the first in a series of posts over the month of October that celebrate American Archives Month. Through these, we showcase the work of LMU’s very own Department of Archives and Special Collections in its efforts to preserve the record of the past for the generations of the future.
Gifts from one generation to the next, time capsules consist of items brought together to memorialize shared experience and pass that experience on to the future. In 1989, Loyola Marymount University students, led by the Resident Housing Association (RHA), assembled material for their own time capsule, a gift to the campus meant to be opened on the occassion of the university's 100th birthday. And so in 2011–2012, which marks the academic year LMU celebrated its Centennial, the campus finally got its chance to see what the students from then wanted us to remember about their time here.
According to an announcement found inside the time capsule, Father President Loughran sealed it at a ceremony on May 1, 1990 at 12:15 pm. When it was ceremonially opened by President David Burcham during the Centennial year Alumni Weekend celebration, held September 24 and 25, 2011 on the LMU campus, a diverse range of material was found that spanned media and message, including school supplies, photographs, toys, glassware, and textiles.
What exactly did the students want us to recall about their era? The Rubik's Cube, Cabbage Patch Doll, and basketball autographed by players from the men's basketball team found in the capsule are all good indicators of what Lions were up to during the hours they were not in class or doing homework. Perhaps the best indicator of the mindset at the time, however, are the responses to questionnaires created and administered by RHA that asked students to describe themselves today and to make some predictions about the future, both their own and the world's, in 2014.
While robot teachers have not materialized as some students predicted in 1989, hand held computers, as other students predicted, have indeed become ubiquitous.
Images are digital reproductions of paper surveys completed by various LMU students (Accession number 2011-UA-033, University Archives, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University)
Once opened, the contents of the time capsule where transferred to the University Archives, the official historical repository of LMU. With collections as diverse as the earliest documentation that established the university as an entity, architectural drawings of campus buildings, photographs of student life, and Chamber Orchestra and KXLU recordings dating back several decades, the University Archives features material that together represent the collective memory of our institution.
University Archives is part of the Department of Archives and Special Collections (ASC). Located on the third floor of the Hannon Library, Archives and Special Collections holdings represent primary source material spanning centuries. Collections are open to researchers, who must make an appointment to access material in our Reading Room.
Interested in making your own time capsule? Be sure to check out the Library of Congress' advice on the optimal material to use. Learn even more about protecting your collections by visiting the Family Archives pages of the U.S. National Archives (NARA) .
Locally, to help us celebrate American Archives Month, be sure to check out the 7th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar being held Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus. LMU will be an exhibitor at this event, along with numerous other repositories in the region.