The Time Capsule—Preparing for AWCI’s Bicentennial in 2118

December 2017

How would you like to send a message to the future you that is read 100 years from now?
That’s the question members of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry face as they prepare to fill a time capsule in celebration of AWCI’s 100th anniversary. If you could leave behind a symbol that represents you and your work for future generations to learn from and enjoy, or even just entertain, what symbol would you pick? A favorite tool? A change order you are still waiting for approval? A picture of your favorite building project? A contract that no one in his or her right mind would sign?
During AWCI’s Convention in March 2018, AWCI will fill and seal a time capsule to be opened during AWCI’s bicentennial celebration in 2118. AWCI members are invited to submit a message for future generations and associates of their company and send it to, or post it on AWCI’s Facebook page (www.facebook/awciwall, and please use the #AWCI100 hashtag). Or, you can attend AWCI’s 2018 convention and drop your message into the time capsule that will be displayed in the AWCI booth at the INTEX Expo. AWCI will take steps to preserve the notes so that they will be readable in 100 years.

AWCI’s legacy will obviously be included in the capsule. A complete history the association’s first 100 years and including major industry milestones and selected world events will be published in the commemorative centennial book, which will be placed in the time capsule. Current electronic media will not functional in 100 years, so copies of this magazine, Research Series papers published by the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, tool catalogs and more will be included. Also included will be published construction standards, stock certificates from some of the industry’s publicly traded companies, and tool pouches and tools used by carpenters, finishers and plasterers.
At one of their recent meetings, members of AWCI’s Continuing Study Committee composed a letter that will go in the time capsule. The letter describes today’s construction industry and the members’ ideas of how things will be 100 years from now. The commemorative centennial book includes a chapter on members thoughts about the industry 10 years and 100 years from now.

The Capsule Itself
Because we represent the construction industry, we do not think small. A small cylindrical container would not do to capture our first 100 years, so we started to think bigger. After researching materials and options, AWCI Executive Vice President and CEO Steve Etkin came up with a plan.
What would be more reminiscent of the construction industry than a large toolbox? The capsule is a large heavy-duty aluminum storage box that you would normally see attached to the bed of a pick-up truck.

Solemn Storage
The next challenge is where to store a capsule for 100 years where it and the contents stay intact. During the past several decades, AWCI headquarters has moved from various locations in the District of Columbia and, more currently, Virginia. Where will AWCI headquarters be in 2118? The fact is, we don’t know, so AWCI is doing what it can to ensure that the time capsule is in a secure location that is known to the AWCI staff of the future. Since the toolbox is not waterproof, burying the container is not an option. Putting it in a warehouse is not an option because the warehouse probably will not exist in 100 years, and it could be tampered with.
So where to store it where it will be safe and protected and still accessible in 100 years? A crypt in a mausoleum! We actually thought of ditching the toolbox in favor of a coffin once we decided on a crypt but we decided that would be a bit much for future generations to deal with. Etkin traveled to Winchester, Va., this past summer to the Shenandoah Memorial Park cemetery to purchase a crypt in the cemetery’s next outdoor mausoleum, which is being built this month.

Alexa: Put “Open the AWCI Crypt in 2118” on my Calendar
How will future generations even know it exists? How do you remind anyone in the future to go to Winchester and open the crypt?
In the AWCI headquarters lobby, AWCI will maintain a plaque-type image of the capsule’s location along with an “open by” date. No matter how many times the headquarters building may change in the next century, the plaque should travel with it. In addition, the crypt will appear as an asset on the AWCI financial and audit statements, and in the audit notes with directions on when to access the crypt.

How to Participate
AWCI members who want to be part of AWCI’s centennial celebrations should attend the convention in Orlando, Fla., March 24–28, 2018. In addition to the education sessions and networking events that make AWCI’s annual convention so popular, special centennial events are planned throughout the program. During the AWCI Opening Session and Awards Brunch will feature the industry awards presentations and a special video on the history of AWCI. At the end of the convention, AWCI will have filled and sealed the time capsule.
Learn more about the convention and details on how to register by going to