Watch now: Time capsules reveal Illinois Wesleyan, Illinois State history | Local Education

Previous time capsules faraway from ISU buildings inform quite a bit in regards to the instances.

David Proeber

BLOOMINGTON — The latest opening of an Illinois  Wesleyan University time capsule drew consideration to a number of the historical past preserved in space buildings. There’s nonetheless loads left to unearth although, with not less than 19 time capsules nonetheless in place between IWU and Illinois State College. 

5 time capsules have been opened between the 2 universities within the final 10 years. That features from Mark Evans Observatory and Memorial Gymnasium at IWU and at ISU from University High School and two from the South Campus complex.

Nearly the entire time capsules are in cornerstones of buildings and meant to be opened at some unset level sooner or later, usually when the constructing is demolished. 

“It is sensible now that we have now carried out the analysis and know, ‘Hey there’s a cornerstone, there’s most likely one thing in there,’” mentioned ISU Archivist April Anderson-Zorn.


Illinois State College Archivist April Anderson-Zorn pages via a 1961 Index, the varsity’s former yearbook, that had been trimmed on the sting to suit right into a time capsule taken from Atkin-Colby residence halls in 2016. She was looking via the time capsule assortment on the college’s archive on Warehouse Highway in Regular. The metallic time capsule is on the desk beneath the Index.

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One from the Mark Evans Observatory was not in good condition, mentioned IWU archivist Meg Miner. It had been crammed with memorabilia of the house age and placed by astronaut Frank Borman. When it was positioned in 1969, the plan was to open in in 1976. 

Sadly the contents included a battery and a sweet bar from Beich’s Sweet meant to have a protracted shelf-life for astronauts. Fifty years have been an excessive amount of and all that was left was the wrapper, Miner mentioned.

ISU has additionally had a time capsule go dangerous. When the South Campus dormitories were demolished, two time capsules have been discovered. The primary was in Hamilton-Whitten. When Anderson-Zorn was lastly in a position to maintain it, she was involved.


Illinois State College Archivist April Anderson-Zorn removes a time capsule as soon as housed in Previous Essential from a storage field whereas looking via the gathering on the college’s archive on Warehouse Highway in Regular. 

“You suppose you’d really feel (the contents) shifting round however nothing was shifting,” she mentioned. “(… Inside) it was like a sponge.”

Water had gotten into the copper field, leaving the papers and different delicate supplies, courting from the late Fifties, a large number. 


Illinois State College Archivist April Anderson-Zorn appears at a 1961 Index, the varsity’s former yearbook, on the college’s archive on Warehouse Highway in Regular. 

The opposite South Campus time capsule, from Atkin-Colby, was extra of a hit. The placers did find yourself having to slice the sting off of a yearbook to make it match within the field.


Mould broken college price range sheets have been faraway from a time capsule that had been crammed with water at Hamilton-Whitten Halls. They’re now a part of the Illinois State College Archives saved on Warehouse Highway in Regular.

Her experiences with the 2 time capsules led Anderson-Zorn to create a standardized response to the invention of a time capsule, together with ensuring services employees and contractors find out about them. An surprising metallic field whereas demolishing a constructing may trigger issues. 

“We would like them to be secure in what they’re doing,” she mentioned.


A stuffed wrist kitty, most likely a homecoming reward, exhibits the results of age after it was faraway from a time capsule that had been crammed with water after it was faraway from Hamilton-Whitten Halls. It’s a part of the Illinois State College Archive saved on Warehouse Highway in Regular on Oct. 20. 

The oldest supplies between the 2 campuses are doubtless in a time capsule in Centennial East on the ISU campus. A time capsule was put in Previous Essential in some unspecified time in the future throughout its building, which completed in 1860, Anderson-Zorn mentioned. The contents from that point capsule are actually within the Centennial East time capsule, although she does have a listing of what was in it. 

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One of many latest is in State Farm Corridor at Wesleyan, inbuilt 2013. The constructing is the latest on campus as nicely. IWU additionally has one of many oldest ones nonetheless in place. The Science Constructing had one positioned in 1910.

Miner is de facto into how the time capsules are created to inform a story, she mentioned. The one from Mark Evans Observatory informed the story of science and space corporations.

Memorial Gymnasium, which turned Hansen Scholar Middle, was devoted to the Wesleyan males who served in World Struggle I, Miner mentioned. Nevertheless, the supplies in time capsule targeted on the college’s relationship with the group, together with a big fundraising effort to maintain the varsity in Bloomington. 

The one opened in 2011 from Sheean Library included supplies from not simply the library however the college of nursing and the artwork division as nicely.

“They clearly needed Sheean Library to replicate all of campus,” Miner mentioned. 

Whereas there are not any quick plans to open any of the time capsules on both campus, plans for upcoming renovations and new buildings on each campuses may result in a while capsules being opened in coming years, Miner and Anderson-Zorn mentioned. 


The contents of the time capsule from Mark Evans Observatory at Illinois Wesleyan are proven within the college’s archives. The contents have been broken by meals and a battery that have been included. Fortunately a medallion donated by Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman survived. It accompanied the astronauts on the primary manned journey to orbit the moon. 

Connor Wood

Miner found a forgotten time capsule simply earlier this month, she mentioned. For probably the most half, she learns about time capsules on campus whereas doing different analysis, usually from applications for dedication occasions. 

“If a query comes up, the primary place I’ll go is the constructing recordsdata,” she mentioned.


The time capsule from Memorial Gymnasium/Hansen Scholar Middle at Illinois Welseyan held up nicely contemplating it was positioned 100 years in the past. IWU Archivist Meg Miner created a poster to speak about a number of the context of the college in 1921. 

Connor Wood

Anderson-Zorn has principally discovered about time capsules on campus from excited alumni.  She has heard a rumor of 1 being buried by college students from Walker Corridor, however attending to it could possibly be tough.

“If it exists, it’s most likely beneath the Scholar Rec Middle,” she mentioned.

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Contact Connor Wooden at (309)820-3240. Comply with Connor on Twitter: @connorkwood

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