In 1984, during BCIT’s 20th Anniversary year, a concrete cairn was created in Campus Square to hold a Plexiglas box made by the 2nd year Civil & Structural students and their instructions. And in this box BCIT students and staff placed items that they felt represented BCIT in 1984.
On October 5, 2014 BCIT turned 50 years old. There are many ways that BCIT’s anniversary is being celebrated this semester and the next. Check out the BCIT 50 website for all of the fun events! Following the intentions of the creators the time capsule was opened as part of BCIT’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
The contents of the box have been passed to the custody of the BCIT Archives where they will be preserved and made available for future generations. The Archivist would like to share a few of her favourite items with you.
Over the thirty years that the items were outside on campus in their specially designed box they suffered very little considering the changes in temperature they experienced and the unavoidable moisture courtesy of the west coast rain. Paper items showed some warping and all metal items removed from the time capsule were damaged by rust. The one item that was placed in the concrete cairn beside the Plexiglas box, rather than in it, was quite badly damaged by mould. Once I have cleaned it stay tuned for a conservation blog post and the big reveal of this unofficial addition to the time capsule.
A classic time capsule item is a local newspaper. The creators of the 1984 time capsule included the Year in Review Section of the Vancouver Sun from December 31st 1984. Some quick facts from that section:
- In 1984 Canada had three Prime Ministers – Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney
- Michael Jackson released Thriller and came to Vancouver as part of his Victory Tour. Three sold out nights at BC Place Stadium
- Prince Harry was born
- Canada’s first test tube twins were born in Toronto
- Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space
- There is severe famine Ethiopia
- Pope John Paul visited Canada
Anniversaries are a time to look back as well as into the future. BCIT is planning to bury a time capsule in the spring of 2015 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. What sort of content or specific items would you like to see included? It is the items with a personal touch that I enjoy in a time capsule. The personal touch that stuck out for me among the contents of the capsule was a quick handwritten note from a BCIT staff member.
Being as how I am also a Librarian I could not resist highlighting one final item. Looking through the publications in the time capsule I found this little gem! In 1984 BCIT was ahead of other academic institutions, a quote from the below article: “BCIT will be the first library in British Columbia, if not Canada, to have an entire catalogue on-line available to students and faculty.”
This system was very advanced for 1984 and granted students and faculty freedom from the microfiche catalogue! Do you know how to use a microfiche reader? The Archivist wants to know!