What is an Online Time Capsule?

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Table of Contents

  1. Why Would Someone Leave a Time Capsule?
  2. Time Capsule Ideas
  3. What Types of Things Can Be Left in a Time Capsule?
  4. Physical vs. Digital Time Capsules

Special moments and memories can be extremely valuable — both as a way to relive favorite life events together and a way for loved ones to be comforted when someone passes on.

Whether you’ve simply spent so many years together that you can’t remember every meaningful experience, or you’re dealing with grief after a loss, recalling those treasured moments can be difficult without a little help. That’s where online time capsules come in.

Time capsules help you save or record memories, experiences, and belongings that have a deep meaning and leave them behind for those you love. A time capsule is any method by which you gather these items or memories to be saved in a format you can pass down to others.

Why Would Someone Leave a Time Capsule?

People leave time capsules because they want to continue sharing with those they love. A time capsule in any form can bring your loved ones:

  • Happy memories for weeks, or years, after you’re gone.
  • Peace and comfort during a time of grief.
  • Something to cherish throughout the years.
  • Something to pass down to younger generations that helps them understand their family traditions or those who have gone before.

Time Capsule Ideas

Time capsules can be as complex or as simple as you want. Ultimately, you’ll want them to be something that can stand the test of time. They should also be easily recovered and shared. Last but not least, they should reflect the message or traditions you want to pass down. Some ideas include:

  1. Video/message recordings. Audio or video messages are easy to leave in either digital (file) form or physical (DVD, CD) form, so you can incorporate them into any type of time capsule. These methods let you share personal stories or thoughts, sing a song, or read a favorite poem — whatever you think may be most meaningful to loved ones later. Recordings also let loved ones see and hear you as you were in life, which can be a powerful and meaningful experience.
  2. Scavenger hunts. If you want to create a memorable experience for loved ones related to the time capsule itself, you can create a scavenger hunt that leads them to different locations where they are given parts of the time capsule or clues to where it resides. This is a great way to bring loved ones back to favorite or meaningful locations, including restaurants, parks, or attractions.
  3. Create your time capsule with a loved one. You don’t have to wait until someone’s gone to make a time capsule of powerful memories. Working with loved ones to create the time capsule now makes it that much more special when they relive those memories later.

What Types of Things Can Be Left in a Time Capsule?

The types of things you leave in a time capsule depend on the type of capsule you decide on, and where and how you plan to store it. Some ideas are included below, but you can include almost anything in a time capsule.

  1. Belongings. Special items, such as mementos from a trip or a favorite toy, are ideal additions to time capsules. Consider including a small note about what the item is and why it’s meaningful.
  2. Pictures. Pictures and videos are great things to include in digital or physical time capsules. A group of pictures can tell the entire story of a day and serve as powerful aids for those who are remembering an event.
  3. Favorite wine. Treat your loved ones to something special by including your favorite wine in the time capsule. Many wines only get better with age, but you will have to take special precautions to ensure the bottle is packed well and won’t break or damage anything else in your capsule.
  4. News events. Provide some perspective about when you lived or when certain memories took place by including news clippings about what was going on in the world.
  5. Traditions that are passed on to others. Protect antique toys, lucky coins, or other items in a time capsule until it’s time for them to find a home with someone new.
  6. Gifts. Place gifts, tickets for an event or trip, or other items in a time capsule to surprise someone you love even after you’re gone. Make sure you leave instructions for accessing the time capsule at the right time so these gifts are found before it’s too late to use them.

Physical vs. Digital Time Capsules

You can choose physical or digital time capsules. Physical time capsules hold tangible items, whereas digital time capsules are stored online — so you’re limited to digital files such as slideshows, videos, audio files, text documents, and images.

One online service that helps you create and deliver an online time capsule at the right time is Making Everlasting Memories, or MEM. MEM offers online memorial displays, tribute movies, and keepsake books – all of which can be used to create time capsules or things to go in them.

You can also use digital file services such as Google Drive or Dropbox to create online time capsules for your loved ones to find.

If you opt for a physical time capsule, remember that you’ll need somewhere safe to store it until it’s time for it to be given to your loved ones. You can ask your attorney for assistance or ask a trusted friend to take charge of your time capsule.

Want to Discover More Tips for Planning Ahead?

Planning ahead means different things for different people. Find out more about what you can do to ensure peace of mind in the future and reduce your family’s burden by signing up for our Thinking Ahead email series.


Note: This post is intended as a resource to help families. If you choose to create a time capsule, speak with an attorney or family members for advice on how best to proceed for your specific needs and wishes.



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