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University Libraries

Packing Up Our 2019 Time Capsule… in 2021

By Katy Kelly and Kristina Schulz

During Roesch Library’s renovation in 2019, we discovered and opened a time capsule left within a wall during the building’s construction in 1970. We decided to pay it forward by building a small metal case in a first-floor wall to hold a new batch of materials. In fall 2019, we asked the campus community to contribute items and ideas to best represent UD and the world.

The 2019 time capsule was complete but not yet packed up by March 2020, when the University sent everyone to work and study remotely in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. We are just now all arriving back to the building after over a year of loss, physical distancing, working from home and wearing face coverings.

Although there would be a lot to share and keep in this time capsule about 2020, we decided to keep it as is, a time capsule of the year 2019. Looking at these items now impacts us in a new way … and makes it feel like that time is very far from where we are today. 

Items in the 2019 time capsule are:

  • Program and prayer from Roesch Library’s blessing on Sept. 27, 2019
  • Miniature Nativity set
  • “Mary Across Our Campus” brochure
  • Five nun doll buttons, made with the Libraries' button maker, available for checkout
  • Finals week space theme button
  • FOAPAL mouse pad from the reorganization of the University’s chart of accounts
  • Roesch Refresh bracelet 
  • T-shirt from Kanye West’s Sunday Service held on Aug. 25, 2019, at Riverscape MetroPark
  • Photo and caption of student performers at Sunday Service
  • Dayton Strong sticker
  • Four of Roesch Library's top Instagram posts in 2019
  • Porch Read flyers from 2019
  • Photos of the Commitment to Community 2019 sheet sign contest winners
  • Brochure of restaurants that deliver to Roesch Library
  • Flyer News opinion piece about Spectrum’s South Ally House, dated Sept. 22, 2019
  • 2019 issue of Summit, OhioLINK’s member magazine
  • Toilet paper limericks/haikus from the library restrooms
  • An image of a flag in rainbow colors with the word "coexist" made with religious symbols
  • The Marian Library’s Instagram post about the fire of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris

Materials were backed up digitally on a USB drive and sealed in a specialized pouch; they’re also stored in the University’s cloud-based storage system, Box. We didn’t bury the time capsule, so we didn’t need to take as many precautions for dirt or water.

Preserving campus life and experiences is fundamental for future researchers. University Archives collects faculty papers, publications and data; materials from student organizations; photos and memorabilia; and more. Technically, the Archives is one big time capsule, and you are welcome to contribute to it. Email

— Katy Kelly is the coordinator of marketing and engagement and an associate professor in the University Libraries; Kristina Schulz is the University archivist. 

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