Time passes much quicker than most of us realize, often to the point that before we know it we’re old and looking at our lives from the wrong end. It’s then that nostalgia kicks in, and we begin to look back rather than forward, remembering particular moments that shaped our lives. Whether they were personal moments experienced just by us an individual, or events experienced by hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.
This year saw Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her Diamond Jubilee denoting 60 years as the head of the British Royal Family. This wasn’t just a chance for her personally to look back over the past six decades with some fond and not-so-fond memories, but a chance for the whole of the U.K. and beyond to do so. Hence the unveiling of the Jubilee Time Capsule.
The Jubilee Time Capsule
The Jubilee Time Capsule is a project by the Royal Commonwealth Society designed to collate memories of the first 60 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. She came to the throne in 1952 and is still the head of state for both the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth comprises 54 independent member states who stand together.
This digital time capsule, for want of a better description, is meant to be act as an everlasting archive of the memories of the years years between 1952 and 2012 recalled by individuals and groups. A grand total of 37,000 people contributed more than 80,000 entries which span the whole of the past 60 years.
The memories contained within the Jubilee Time Capsule include births, deaths, marriages, scientific breakthroughs, political happenings, and world events, to name just a few. It’s a vast collection that acts as a reminder to us all of the times we have lived through, and reading through the entries tells a compelling story punctuated by thousands of smaller (yet no less compelling) stories.
The website itself was built using the Capsool platform, and it’s a little clunky in places. It appears to have been built with touchscreens in mind, which makes it a pain to navigate with a mouse and keyboard. Thankfully there are ways of organizing and distilling the content into more manageable groupings.
You can simply scroll through the whole 60 years (1952 to 2012) from beginning to end, picking out the stories you want to explore in more depth. However, that is rather tiresome. There are several ways of sorting through the content contained within the Jubilee Time Capsule.
The black bar at the top of the page reveals three options. You can open the calendar by clicking on the symbol, and then choose a year, month, and day to visit. This is especially useful if you want to check out what other people remember about your birthday. Or you can use the Search function to search for keywords related to topics that interest you.
By far the easiest method is using the ready-made search parameters hiding behind the Collections banner. Here you can browse by decades, regions, or particular interests. Or you can view the Special Collections which are broken down into The Diamond (re)Collection and The People’s Choice. This is where the best entries reside.
One of the best exercises to do with the Jubilee Time Capsule is picking a day completely at random and seeing what people’s memories are of that one tiny dot on the calendar. The following are what popped up for February 28, 1964. All of the entries are embeddable, meaning you can share them easily with others as I have done below.
Many of the entries in the Jubilee Time Capsule are very personal and, though interesting to read, will only be recognizable to a handful of people. However, there are also big events that somehow changed the world, for better or worse, and these entries will spark a memory in the minds of many. What follows are three chosen at random.
June 7, 1954
November 19, 1969
March 11, 2011
I had a lot of fun browsing through the Jubilee Time Capsule. There’s a wealth of information contained within the repository of memories, much of which was completely new to me. What’s particularly good about this project is that though it started out as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II it ended up being something everybody can enjoy, hopefully for generations to come.
Let us know what you think of the Jubilee Time Capsule, or what you would have added to it had you been given the chance, in the comments section below. We’re always eager to hear your responses to what we write about, and all comments are read, at the very least.
Image Credit: DeptfordJon