The Chamber Daily

Birmingham Museum to close bicentennial with time capsule at Winter Markt kickoff on Nov. 30th    

      Student contributions sought with the theme, “Message to the Future”

BIRMINGHAM, MI, November 8, 2018—To conclude its year-long celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Birmingham, the Birmingham Museum will be launching a special commemorative bicentennial time capsule project, focused on local students. The capsule will be presented to the City at the annual Tree Lighting and Winter Markt kickoff November 30, 2018 in Shain Park, in downtown Birmingham. The contents of the time capsule will include contributions from area students with the theme, “Message to the Future;” and since the planned opening will be Birmingham’s 250th anniversary, today’s young students can return for the ceremony in 2068.

As with most time capsules, the idea is to capture a “snapshot” of the present that will give people in the future a unique perspective on what life is like in 2018, and what is on the minds of young people.

“Students will be able to send a message to themselves in the future if they like, or to family members, the people of Birmingham, or even to society in general,” said Museum Board chair Tina Krizanic. “The idea is for each student to consider what they want to say, and how they want to say it, whether it is a poem, an essay, a photo, a song lyric, or any other creative contribution that means something special to them and that they want to preserve for future access.”

Students will have to convert their messages into digital files of no more than 10 MB (such as .pdf or .mp3), identify themselves by school, first name, and grade in the digital file name, and send submissions via email to the museum before December 31, 2018. The museum will compile contributions onto a hard drive that will be placed in an airtight archival time capsule with additional documents and instructions. The capsule will be buried in Shain Park with an engraved granite marker identifying the location and opening date of December 1, 2068. Teachers, family members, and friends are encouraged to get in on the project to help students craft their message.

“Despite concerns that 2018 electronic files may not be accessible in fifty years, we want to reassure everyone that libraries and public archives have established methods of preserving and carrying forward existing formats,” Museum Director Leslie Pielack said. “Just as we can watch vintage 20th century 35 mm films online or hear 1940’s sound recordings that were originally on vinyl records, our students’ digitized files will be readable in 2068.” The time capsule project fits the museum mission of preserving local heritage for the future, while inviting the community to play an active role. “In particular, it invites young people to put themselves in the context of ‘now’ as well as the future, giving them a sense of their own personal timeline,” Pielack added.

To participate, the museum suggests students consider how to answer the question, “What do you want to say to/show people in 2068?” There will be no judging; every student in Birmingham schools is welcome to send a contribution. Examples are:

  • A digital photograph (scene, people, activity, etc.) or series of photos
  • A hand-made drawing or graphic design, scanned 
  • A hand-written or typed poem, essay, short story with or without an image 
  • A brief audio or video recording (10 MB limit)


  1. Students must identify themselves with their submission-school, first name, age, and grade.
  2. Submission deadline: December 31, 2018.
  3. Material must be in electronic form, no larger than 10 MB per submission, and file name must have student’s school, first name, age, and grade/class in the format: Schoolname_Firstname_age_teacher/grade­, (e.g., Beverly_Taylor_7_Grade2, or Groves_Ashton_15_Grade10).
  4. Submit electronically via email to: Leslie Pielack, Museum Director, Sorry, files over 10 MB cannot be accepted.
  5. Additional information is available at the museum’s webpage,

The time capsule project complements the award-winning year-long bicentennial exhibit, “The People of Birmingham: 200 Years of Stories,” which is on display until January, 2019. Find out more at the Birmingham Museum at 248-530-1928 or visit us online at  

The Birmingham Museum is located at 556 West Maple. Exhibit hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. Two hours of free parking is available at the Chester Street Parking Deck; credit card required for entry and exit.  For more information, call 248-530-1928 or visit . Museum admission is $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors.  Kids 5 and under and Friends of the Birmingham Museum members are free.

City of Birmingham – A Walkable Community. Visit the city’s web site at

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