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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published March 15, 2012                                         

Residents invited to help fill
time capsule

Historical society, Hinsdalean invite citizens to submit items to be rediscovered in 50 years

By Pamela Lannom 

   Imagine life in Hinsdale in 2062.
   Parking will no longer be an issue, as flying cars will be stacked four high in spaces along Washington Street.
   A grande no-fat mocha latte at Starbuck’s will cost $99.
   The Fuller family will have branched off into women’s clothing, children’s shoes and high-end jewelry.
   And come July 4, village dignitaries will open a time capsule created way back in 2012.
   The first three obviously are speculation, but the time capsule is a reality. The Hinsdale Historical Society and The Hinsdalean are inviting residents to contribute items that will be preserved for the next 50 years.
   Shannon Weinberger, historical society board president, said she hopes the effort will encourage people to take the time to document what life is like in Hinsdale today.
   “I think we live life very fast right now, and so we forget to stop and take a look at where we are and what we’re doing and how things are designed and what they look like,” she said. “We don’t see those things as special.”
   Weinberger appreciates the effort that was made to take photos of her home when it was first built in 1889.
   “In the photo there are three tiny trees that look like they had just been planted and now they’re huge,” she said. “We go back to those pictures all the time as I am redoing our home.”
   She and fellow historical society board member Cindy Klima wonder how many people are taking pictures of new homes built today — or posing for formal family portraits.
   “People didn’t just do a photo. It was a formal painting,” Klima said.
   Professional painting and even photographs have given way to ones taken with cell phones and digital cameras, and the pictures often sit on a laptop or CD without ever being printed.
   “I don’t think what we’re doing is permanent, like a handwritten letter or a photo that someone posed for,” Weinberger said. “I think we’ll have big holes in our history because we’re so digital. We’re not saving it.”
   The time capsule is a small step toward addressing that problem.
   Because there is no way to predict technological advances, everything preserved in the capsule must be a physical object. Photographs must be actual prints, and letters must be on pieces of paper — handwritten, if possible.
   Submissions will be collected through June 16. Some of the objects that will go into the capsule will be placed in a special July 4 exhibit at Immanuel Hall. Others will be published in The Hinsdalean.
   The accompanying sidebar offers some prompts to encourage residents to put their thoughts down in writing or to capture images on film. The historical society and The Hinsdalean hope to receive submissions from residents of all ages.
   Weinberger imagines the contents of the time capsule will provide some good laughs when they are viewed half a century from now.
   “I think we think we’re all cutting edge right now. We’re at the top of technology, we’re at the top of everything. In 50 years, we’ll open it up and look back and think, ‘I can’t believe that phone was so big,’ ” she said. “We’re living the olden days, but we don’t know it until we open the time capsule, and I think that’s fun.”

Filling the time capsule

“Perhaps history is just story-telling.”
      — Graham Swift, “Waterland”

   The most important component of the time capsule the Hinsdale Historical Society and The Hinsdalean are creating will be submissions from residents sharing their stories in words and pictures.
   The following prompts are offered to encourage residents of all ages to pick up a pen or a camera and tell a story about what it’s like to live in
Hinsdale today.
   Essays must be printed out. When possible, hand-written pieces would be appreciated.
   Pictures must be prints and should have the location, date and name of photographer on the back. 
   Items may be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at The Hinsdalean, 7 W. First St., or from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Hinsdale History Museum, 15 S. Clay St., or the Anderson Center, 302 S. Grant St. The deadline for submissions is June 16.
   No materials will be returned — at least not for 50 years.

What are your family’s traditions in Hinsdale? (Fourth of July parade, Christmas Walk, Uniquely Thursday, daily rituals, etc.)

What are your memories of growing up in Hinsdale?

How would you spend an ideal day off school?

What do you appreciate most about your neighborhood?

Share the history of your house and a current and/or historic photo of it.

If multiple generations of your family have lived in town, share their stories and include some photos. Which members of your family might live here in 50 years?

What are your favorite places in town? Write about them and/or take pictures of them and the people who visit them.

What do you hope Hinsdale will be like in 50 years?

What organizations in town have made a difference in your life?


  Making a Difference is a yearlong partnership between
The Hinsdalean and the Hinsdale Historical Society, which works to collect, preserve and promote the village’s history and its architecture.




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