Time capsule

Navan’s 150th Anniversary Time Capsule

One of the final projects undertaken as part of Navan’s 150th Anniversary year was the installation of a commemorative clock and community builder’s wall in front of the fire and paramedics station on Colonial road. As part of this project, an area of the site was also designated to hold a time capsule.

The 150th Anniversary committee felt it appropriate to not only highlight some of the memories the community shared through 2011, but also to reflect back on Navan’s long history. With this in mind, it is hoped that members of our community will participate in filling a time capsule with memorabilita that, when opened in the future, will give a glimpse of what Navan was once like.

The story of the Navan Time Capsule (2014)

It seemed like a simple task at first glance…would Heather Monkman and I put together a little time capsule for Navan to be buried in the town clock plaza?

“Of course,” we both agreed, “that sounds pretty straight forward and easy to do.” In fact, it was neither.

Gathering the information was actually the easiest part. Residents and businesses of Navan came forward with their stories, pictures and small momentous to add to the Time Capsule. People were very creative and put together some interesting submissions for us. The problem was, how to protect all of this important data so that it would be preserved in tact for 25 or 30 years or more.

At this point, Heather and I realized that we were out of our depth in terms of knowledge and we needed technical help. That help came in the form of Fred Hyde and David Grattan, who agreed to join the committee and come up with a preservation plan for our Time Capsule submissions. They worked very hard on all elements of it–from the way in which submissions should be created to maximize their longevity, to the design of the capsule itself and finally how to ensure that it would stay dry over the years.

As David writes,

In my job as Manager of Research at the Canadian Conservation Institute I was present at the opening of a number of time capsules.  Very often there is nothing but sludge in the bottom – a disappointment to all concerned.

What we have created for the Navan Time Capsule is a state of the art, custom built time capsule which learns from these mistakes of earlier attempts.  It was fabricated of Stainless steel to our specifications by VIrtucom metals of Carp – who gave us a nice discount as this was a community project.  It is sealed with a neoprene O ring gasket.  But to be sure in the long term that it will exclude moisture it was oversealed with molten paraffin wax.  The wax flowed all around the capsule making it absolutely impervious.  The wax was freely donated by the Boogie Doozy Candle Company in Chelsea Quebec.

We have insisted on using durable materials for the contents – and most people have followed the guidelines.  This should give people in 100 years’ time something to study.  For durability – the best recording medium is black and white photocopy or laser print on ordinary 8×10 paper.  Ink jet copy fades with time and colour ink jet is especially vulnerable.  CDs are also vulnerable as the metal reflective layer can corrode and the dyes used in CD-Rs may fade. Thus we have used archival grade CDs or DVDs which use gold as the reflective layer and stable dyes – even so there are doubts as to whether the reading technology will survive. 

So, our committee of four feels confident that we have done our very best to equip the Navan Time Capsule with the highest quality of preservation standards that we could find. We thank the Community Association for their financial support in paying for the cylinder and the top stone which marks its place.

On a beautiful day in June of 2014, as part of the Community Builders Wall ceremony, we were able to finally seal up the Time Capsule cylinder, lower it into the cement casing and pour the liquid wax over it. After the ceremony we added a top stone (pictured here) in order to mark where it is buried.

We hope that you will go and see it and that sometime in the future, people will dig it up and learn what we were like in 2014.

Time will tell!!

Jill Noakes – Heather Monkman – David Grattan – Fred Hyde ​