Back to the Future: Hundred-Year-0ld Time Capsule to Be Opened March 31


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The time capsule from the MHC class of 1900 awaits its March 31 opening on a table in the College archives. The box, which is bolted shut, has a plaque on top that states it is to be opened in the year 2000 and is for the Class of 2000.

The plaque atop the time capsule box given to the class of 2000 by the class of 1900. It is scheduled to be opened at the amphitheater on the evening of March 31.

On the evening of Friday, March 31, at 7 pm, the Mount Holyoke community will witness history in the making with the opening of a unique time capsule. A small wooden box that has been stowed away for the last one hundred years, the capsule will be opened before all to see in Gettell Amphitheater. Made of handsome dark wood and the size of a bread box, the capsule was created in 1900 by the senior class of that year for the graduating class of 2000. It was featured in the commencement exercises that took place one hundred years ago. A letter in the box reveals the bonds between students then and now, as well as the ongoing hopes and fears of American women over the last century.

According to Sara Hines, president of the current senior class, the time capsule opening is a "celebration of the gift of history. The class of 2000 is really excited about playing a pivotal role in the opening's ceremony. That one hundred years ago our foremothers were thinking about our class is truly amazing." Hines and other members of the class of 2000 have made all the event arrangements, including plans to exhibit the capsule's contents following its opening.

Little is known about the contents of the box, but its travels over the last century have been documented through the College's archives. In a letter written in 1950 from a member of the class of 1900, Bertha N. Meserve, to Jane Holland, one of three women from the class of 1950 who were named to be on hand for next month's opening, the contents of the box are described as "filled with various class records and souvenirs."

Fifty years ago, Holland and the two other women from the then freshly graduated class of 1950 were selected as trustees of the time capsule. Although Holland has died, Ruth Craig Morales of Northampton and Cornelia Brown Pomeroy of Worcester, will be on hand at the opening. Pomeroy explains that she was picked as a time capsule trustee because she lived in the same area as the class of 1900's secretary. Morales says that she and Jane Holland were selected because they were high school English students of a member of the class of 1900 and were recommended because of that personal connection.

The class of 2000 is planning to dedicate a time capsule, perhaps reusing the wooden box from 1900, to the class of 2100. The ceremony for this next piece of history will be held May 20 on campus during commencement weekend. Seniors are currently being polled to find out what they think should be placed in the box. Hines expects that a class picture will be included.

In order to share the contents of the opened time capsule with the public and MHC alumnae, an exhibition is planned in the library. The display is scheduled to open before May, so that it may be a part of commencement activities.