Humans

Students opened a time capsule from 1993 and it reveals how insanely the world has changed

When you think of a time capsule you might think of something buried for decades or even a hundred years, but just stepping back as far as the mid-1990s can offer up a surprising peek into the past – as students at Shenandoah University in Virginia just found out.

Maybe you weren’t born in 1993, or maybe it seems like only yesterday, but the grand opening of the time capsule shows a lot has changed in the past 25 years.

Some of the ancient treasures picked out of the box include a cassette tape (popular for storing audio and music in the 1990s), bookmarks, comic books, a yearbook, a newspaper, photographs and various other odds and ends.

One of the photos dug up (below) shows three Shenandoah University students on a choir group tour of Switzerland in 1991, with the hairstyles the most obvious giveaway of the date.

time cap 2(Shenandoah University)

The capsule even included some Beatles records on vinyl – not released in 1993 of course, but presumably valuable possessions for the class of 1993 at Shenandoah.

One student called Tobie also included audio and words from his recital – although we don’t know what Tobie is up to now.

As tends to be the case with a lot of time capsules, moisture had damaged plenty of the objects hidden away, particularly anything involving paper – the 1993 yearbook looked to be pretty much mush, though the university presumably has copies that weren’t buried.

Meanwhile a printed playlist from Shenandoah University radio in 1993 includes such hits as “Twist And Shout” by the Beatles, “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Jane’s Got A Gun” by Aerosmith, and “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen.

TV listings included in the capsule feature the likes of Saved By The Bell and Baywatch, as well as the series finale of The Wonder Years (which aired on 12 May 1993).

Other treasures found in the box include a pack of condoms (expired March 1997), a Shenandoah University parking permit, a stone hippo ornament and a student ID.

Perhaps most poignant are the notes left by students detailing where they see themselves in 2018: married with children, mostly, performing in the arts, and in one case travelling the world in opera houses.

We don’t know if these dreams came true, but let’s hope so.

The capsule also included a toy dinosaur – a nod to the imminent release of the first Jurassic Park in cinemas.

If you need any more context for 1993, Bill Clinton was in the White House (from January), and the biggest selling song of the year in the US was “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.

In science, 1993 was the year the Hubble Space Telescope got an optics upgrade, Intel shipped its first Pentium chips, and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Richard J. Roberts and Philip A. Sharp for their work on split genes.

And if you’re keen to check out more time capsules, check out the findings from this 1968 one: a collection of rather cute letters from kids at school, talking about their favourite hobbies and their hopes for the future.

Highlights of the time capsule opening ceremony can be seen in the YouTube clip below – a platform which was some 12 years away from launching back in 1993.

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