New generation of time capsule keepers sworn in

A second generation of time capsule keepers were sworn in at the state Capitol by the Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

The tradition began in 1989 when then Governor Booth Gardner swore in 300 ten-year-old volunteers to be the first generation of keepers for the state’s 3,000 pound time capsule. It was established as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration, a project headed by Keepers of the Capsule board co-chair Knute Berger.

Wyman put out the call last May for a new generation to come forward to carry the torch. She sent out letters and put out messages to bring together the Keepers of 1989 and have them begin the process of indoctrinating the class of 2014.

Berger said: “Out of the 300 or so original Keepers, we managed to locate 80. Of that number, probably 20-30 were involved in the actual capsule update project.”

Jennifer Estroff is chairperson of the nonprofit organization in charge of overseeing the project, Keepers of the Capsule. She is also a “Keeper” from the class of 1989. Last year, her class met to discuss the selection of the next generation of keepers.  “It is such an honor,” she said, “I felt proud to do it and I look forward to seeing the next set of keepers get the honor.”

Estroff said that Keepers came from as far away as the state of Georgia. In speaking of the peach state native, Estroff said with a laugh, “Her mom told her that she had better be on a plane when the time comes.”

Keepers are chosen from a group of ten-year-olds born between Nov. 4 – 18, which encompasses the state’s anniversary date of Nov. 11 by one week on either side of the day. “This offers the opportunity to become a Keeper to a vast population,” said Estroff.

The time capsule contains 16 individual stainless steel capsules that will be filled with new items every 25 years. It is designated to be opened on the state’s 500th birthday in 2389. It will be the job of the Keepers to make sure that the time capsule is not forgotten and is stocked with memorabilia over the course of 500 years. Items that were put into the capsule in 1989 include a Nordstrom catalog, a phone directory, a Native American basket, and thousands of messages from Washingtonians.

Some of the items being considered for placement into time capsule this year include Kindle eBooks by Washington authors, clips of major news stories, and a Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl ring.

Donations are needed to acquire the ring for the time capsule which is scheduled to be filled with this year’s items on Feb. 22. After that, the capsule will be sealed for another twenty five years until 2039. Donations can be made to the Keepers of the Capsule at

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