Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > An American Time Capsule

[Detail] Millions of acres, Iowa and Nebraska, 1872

Historical Comprehension

Unlike the An American Time Capsule collection, most time capsules contain a limited number of items selected to show, through artifacts and documents, what life was like at the time the time capsule was created. For example, people often create time capsules and put them into the cornerstones of buildings to show something important about the year in which the building was built.

Choose a decade in U.S. history. Do some reading about the decade to identify important events, people, and trends of the period. Then search An American Time Capsule for up to ten documents that could be included in a time capsule for the decade you have chosen. The documents should reveal something important about the decade through the words of those who lived then. You can conduct a Keyword Search using the events or people you have identified as important or using the dates of the decade (for example, for the 1850s, enter 185* as your search term). Create a plan for your time capsule, explaining why you have chosen each of the items.