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 V.15 No.26 | June 29 - July 5, 2006 

News Bite

Capturing the Digital Age

City’s “Historic Task Force” hopes time capsule will capture a snapshot of Albuquerque

Scott Rickson

What will Albuquerque look like 100 years from now? Who knows? But whatever creatures are inhabiting our fine city in 2106 (assuming we haven’t all been obliterated by cyborgs) will have an opportunity to see what life was like a century before.

The city’s “Historical Task Force,” formed a year-and-a-half ago as part of the larger Albuquerque Tricentennial Committee, is putting together a time capsule that will be embedded in Tiguex Park this October. The capsule will include at least 10 high-density DVDs, each with a separate category, which will contain digital photos taken by Albuquerque citizens.

The photos can be of anything, ranging from modes of dress, sports, landscapes, historical events and almost anything else under the sun, depending on what entries are submitted. The pictures can be sent in by private citizens, professionals, companies, organizations or anyone else in Albuquerque.

“The best part about the time capsule is that anyone can participate,” says Historical Task Force volunteer David Jackson. “What we want to preserve,” Jackson says, “is what life was like in 2006 in Albuquerque, and we want to do so using digital photographs because they won’t fade over time.”

The capsule’s lid is made of steel, concrete and bronze inlay, and the capsule itself is a leak-proof, high-density 30-gallon polyethylene barrel. The total cost of the capsule, including materials and workers fees, is $45,000, which is paid for with a combination of the city’s general obligation bonds and state bonds.

“The capsule is one more way Albuquerque will celebrate its 300th birthday,” says Mayor Martin Chavez’ spokesperson Deborah James. “Albuquerque is a city on the move and the contributions to the time capsule will allow future generations to travel back in time and visit our city.”

Even so, as is true of any time capsule, especially one that is not to be opened for an entire century, Jackson and his task force face some tough questions about whether or not people (or cyborgs, for that matter) will be able to access the material once it’s underground.

The task force has spoken to scientists at Sandia Labs as well as managers at several electronics stores and other electronics experts who, Jackson asserts, have expressed great confidence in the capsule’s ability to withstand the test of time. “It will include a state-of-the-art DVD player to play the DVDs, and the player and the DVDs shouldn’t break because they’ll only be used once to make sure they work 100 years from now,” he says.

As for the question of whether the DVD player will be able to be plugged in using 2106 technology, Jackson says the people he’s talked to have affirmed that the current mode of conveying electricity through most appliances and other devices is a major part of America’s infrastructure. As such, Jackson says, “It would take a pretty big change for our electricity to be much different in the future.”

To find out how to submit your photos or for more information about the Tricentennial Commission, visit or call 260-4885.


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