Words and Photography by CC Kallam
County and Pittsboro town officials want your help in sharing the here and now with our future selves.
“Everything in the time capsule should relate to 2020 and 2021,” says Chatham County Commissioner Diana Hales. “We’re asking for people to think about a message they might want to send to the people in Chatham 50 years from now.”
Diana says to think about major events from last year until now – a worldwide pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sitting cross-armed in knitted mittens, and streets filled with protesters after the murder of George Floyd. Now, consider major milestones in our local, daily lives such as birthdays, weddings, funerals, church services and holiday visits, or Zooms with friends and family. What objects represent those meaningful moments?
Members of the Chatham 250 committee are accepting donations of mementos to fill the time capsule, which will be sealed this fall and not to be opened again until the county’s 300th anniversary in 2071.
Diana picks up a squeezable toy chicken from the Mountaire processing plant in Siler City and says it represents the largest private employer in Chatham with its 1,700 employees. All time capsule items are considered donations and will be transferred to the Chatham County Historical Association or its successor. Diana says she and other Chatham 250 volunteers hope to collect items like face masks, statement buttons, church bulletins or personal letters to future citizens from children and adults alike.
Diana says there’s no need to worry about the number of paper items that can realistically fit into the capsule. “We’re going to microfiche all the paper, because no matter what, people 50 years from now will be able to read microfiche,” she says. “Chatham County is changing every day and, as Chathamites, we need to preserve this Chatham as we know it.”