By Tom Larson
Stevens County officials will place a new time capsule in an entry wall of the new refurbished courthouse on Monday. That work will be a breeze compared to figuring out what to put in it and how to protect it for the next 50 years.
Earlier this summer, the county opened the time capsule that spent almost 55 years behind a granite cornerstone outside the courthouse. The capsule was removed last winter as construction began on the new building.
The new capsule will contain dozens of records, books, papers, newspapers and photographs, and compact discs storage drives containing hundreds of electronic files. The items are wrapped in acid-free bags and special sleeves, and deciccant packs will be placed in the stainless steel box. The contents of the 1956 capsule - which actually was set in 1957 - also will be reset.
Stevens County History Museum Director Randee Hokanson said time capsules should reflect the people and place.
"Maybe nobody will care in 50 years but it tells you about the times," she said
Museum staff and a committee headed by Stevens County board chairman Don Munsterman organized the contents of the new capsule. The goal was to represent the business, agriculture and education system of Stevens County, as well as the culture through such things as news stories, opinion pieces and advertisements, Hokanson said.
A letter from the county board and photographs of the courthouse building and renovation project will be in the capsule.
"It will say, 'Here's what we're hoping for the future,'" Hokanson said. "(The capsule) will have reflections on where we're at as a county. It's the work of a museum to depict Stevens County life as it is now so when it's opened people will be able to see what stayed the same and what's changed."
Hokanson said concerns were addressed regarding the electronic storage items, but she's confident the new capsule will be well-preserved, also noting that the box won't be buried and will be indoors.
"I don't look at it as an issue at all," she said. "I think it also showcases the skills of the museum that we can preserve things for a long time."