Federal Way time capsule set to open in 2050

Residents, community groups encouraged to contribute artifacts before capsule is buried for 30 years.

A time capsule of local artifacts will soon be buried within the city for future Federal Wayans of 2050 to discover.

The City of Federal Way will be filling the time capsule with your artifacts during the month of October, leading up to the capsule closing ceremony at noon Friday, Nov. 6, at the Performing Arts and Event Center (PAEC).

The year 2020, as tumultuous as it’s been, is an iconic year as the city’s 30th anniversary, Mayor Jim Ferrell said. He developed the idea for a time capsule to capture and preserve historical moments of the city, while looking forward to the next 30 years when the capsule is opened in 2050.

“I try to capture historic moments in our community,” he said, noting a series of photographs hanging in City Hall and his office deemed “wall-worthy” moments, such as the groundbreaking of the PAEC, the grand opening of Town Square Park, and the installation of the city’s flagpole.

“We’re in the process of making great history for our city,” he said. “What I love about the government is that it’s not just about serving and handling needs of today. It’s plotting a course for tomorrow.”

The city celebrated its 30th birthday on Feb. 28 this year. Ferrell said the milestone has prompted him to envision building a future for the next generation and planning for Federal Way’s future on the 60th anniversary or beyond.

How is the community going to look? What will the future Federal Way community be working on?

“It’s a fun and important conversation to have,” he said.

The cement vault time capsule is 5 feet long and 22.5 inches deep. It will be buried in Town Square Park, although the exact location will not be disclosed. Each artifact included will be sealed and weather-proofed in order to withstand the elements underground for the next three decades.

In total, the time capsule project cost about $5,000 of the general fund, Ferrell said.

“In a sense, we’re all time travelers, we just do it one day at a time,” Ferrell said. “What this will be able to do — once we gather the artifacts and representation of who we are today and who our city is — it’ll be a message to the next generation 30 years from now.”

So far, contributions will be collected from the city, various local and national newspapers, Federal Way Public Schools, the Federal Way Historical Society, various cultural communities in Federal Way and more.

Artifacts held inside for safekeeping may include photographs, various local and national newspapers, the city’s Juneteenth and Pride flags that were both flown for the first time last June, and more.

“With COVID-19, social injustices and all of the things that have happened this year, I do think that it’s important for us to take time to appreciate where we are today and where we want to be in 30 years,” Ferrell said.

How to contribute

The city is looking for artifact contributions and suggestions from the community. If you have questions about the capsule or would like to contribute an item, email Pamela.Jones@cityoffederalway.com or call the Mayor’s Office at 253-835-2402.

The lobby to City Hall remains closed due to COVID restrictions, but people can call and make an appointment to drop off items.

The socially-distanced time capsule closing ceremony will be held at noon Nov. 6 at the Performing Arts and Event Center (31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S.) in Federal Way.