Waukesha time capsule includes pandemic-related items

Through dozens of pictures and objects, the city of Waukesha hopes to share a snapshot of daily life in 2021 with future generations. T-shirts, restaurant menus, law enforcement patches and more are being tucked into the city’s time capsule.

"We are including drone footage," said Rebecca Pederson, Assistant to the Mayor and City Administrator.  "Hopefully they can view it in 50 years!  We’ll have a flash drive with some digital items as well."

Pederson and her team have been building toward this moment for years.  

"Honestly, when I stop and think about it, it’s a little daunting!" Pederson joked.

Rebecca Pederson

Rebecca Pederson

The grand finale of the city’s 125th anniversary celebration will come on Dec. 7 when Mayor Shawn Reilly will gather items collected over the last year and seal them in a time capsule for five decades.  

"It’s been both a tough year, but also a satisfying year," Reilly reflected.

Tough because of one word: coronavirus.  

"I think even 50 years from now, people will know COVID-19 was an issue and a problem," Reilly said.

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Among t-shirts and yearbooks, there are vaccination cards and face masks.  

"We were planning for the 125th during the pandemic – we weren’t sure we’d be able to do some of these events during the pandemic," added Pederson. "It’s certainly impacted our lives and part of the story we wanted to tell."

It’s a story that will now wait 50 years to be experienced.  

"We decided it isn’t going to be buried," said Reilly.  

Instead, the Les Paul-inspired guitar-shaped case will rest in this window near the main lobby of the new, $20 million city hall that also opened during this anniversary year.

"It’s made of silicone bronze alloy which will give it a nice finish," explained Robb Edwards, MetalTek’s Director of Marketing. "It will be about 26 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and weigh about 70 pounds once it’s complete."

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It’s still being made and submissions are still coming in. Citizens have also shared memories reflecting on fun times at events like Friday Night Live and prayers for "continued growth" in the future.

"With this anniversary, it’s a great time for people – especially students of local and social history – to really take a deep dive in terms of how we came together as a community," added Waukesha Alderman Don Paul Browne.

Unity during uncertainty. This is Waukesha in 2021: its landmarks; its triumphs; its people. There’s hope these memories will inform the future and enhance their understanding.

"When they open up the time capsule," Reilly said, "they’ll actually have something in their hand – something they can look at – that says this is what everyone was going through."

Learn much more about the upcoming #Waukesha125 events.

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