Documenting Fernie’s Response to COVID-19

Apr 16, 2020 | Archives

Looking for a fun activity for the whole family? Help document the COVID-19 pandemic locally in real-time by creating your very own Family Time Capsule (COVID-19 edition!). This record will join our permanent collection in the archives as a way for the community to remember this event that will change us all forever. We are asking people to keep daily journals, write letters to their past or future selves or loved ones, take photographs, make art, make music, or videos showing some of your daily activities.

From artwork, to journalling, to photos of the meals cooked during this time, to short videos of activities the whole family has undertaken together, to short short stories (creative writing!), to some of the school lessons kids have completed at home, there are a number of things that can go into the time capsule which highlight how your family has stayed together during this time.

We just ask that families keep their time capsules at home until the Museum re-opens.

Here’s some ideas that help guide creating your own Fernie Family Time Capsule (COVID-19 Edition!)

Depending on where you plan to store your container, you’ll need to choose a capsule that’s durable and weather-resistant. Plastic and metal are good choices for holding your treasures.

Get the whole family in on the brainstorming fun! This is a great family meeting topic! Everyone will want a hand in deciding what important mementos are capsule and archive-worthy. A cool aspect of time capsules is seeing what was important to your family members at the time. Imagine your high school self—Would you include scrunchies? A New Kids on the Block cassette?

Kids might want to include a figurine, a toy from their favourite movie or another item that reflects their likes and preferences. It’s fun to include an overview of current events too. A newspaper, magazine or another snippet can remind you of what was happening in the world when you created your capsule.

Write down the prices of common items and how available they were at the grocery store during the pandemic crisis, and at what price. What items were included in the family’s weekly grocery shop? Include lists of your favourites, likes and dislikes. What songs did you listen to, movies you watched on streaming services (and what streaming services did you subscribe to?, You may want to include hand prints and the heights and weights of your kids so you can see how they grow over the years.

Photos, scrapbooks, small trinkets, a copy of a family saying that got you through the crisis, and artwork are great time capsule additions. One tip to keep in mind is DVD and CD technology only lasts for about 20 years (videotapes lasted even less) in optimal conditions. You may want to archive items in a format that will be accessible in 20-40 years!

One of the best time capsule additions is a letter to your future self. Each person should write a letter—what do you want for your future self? What are the goals you hope to achieve by the time you unearth your capsule? What advice or values do you want your future self to follow or reflect on? This is a great activity for everyone in the family (even mom and dad)!

Avoid items that don’t hold up well. Of course, liquids and foods shouldn’t go into your capsule, but batteries should also be avoided. They can corrode, leak and destroy everything you’ve stored. Avoid anything that might not hold up to heat, cold, pressure or other conditions your capsule might face.

In donating your time capsule to the Fernie Museum, you will also get to set how long you want to hide your time capsule before its open and accessible to the public. It’s fun to look toward a future milestone – set a time that you want to open the capsule and choose a future date you’ll remember as a family. There’s no set time frame for sealing your capsule, but usually at least ten years should pass to make it interesting and fun to open. 20, 25 or even 40 years are also great choices. Choose whatever feels right for you and your family.


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