Violet Orelove points out things she sees in the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitor closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Violet Orelove points out things she sees in the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitor closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

‘It’s maybe not valuable stuff, but it’s our stuff’: Juneau’s time capsule turns 25

The room-sized display asked for whole community’s input

Not every item in Juneau’s 25-year-old time capsule is valuable, but the eclectic trove of decades-old ephemera is still treasured by Michael Orelove.

Orelove was chairman of the City and Borough of Juneau ad hoc committee that collected items for the 1994 capsule, which now occupies a room inside the lobby of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building. He was present among a small crowd Friday for a celebration of the capsule’s 25th anniversary.

[Photos: Take a look at what’s in the capsule]

“Most people when they think of a time capsule, they think of a small box,” Orelove said in an interview. “We didn’t want that. We wanted the whole community to contribute.”

Ultimately, hundreds of items came to be housed in the time capsule. Identification documents, credit cards, a Wonderbra, a mannequin wearing a Nugget Alaskan Outfitter cap, political signs and of-the-era children’s toys sit in the room that’s observable through a viewing window.

Inside the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitors closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Inside the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitors closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Assembly member Mary Becker read a proclamation recognizing the week of Aug. 5-11 as Juneau Time Capsule Week on behalf of Mayor Beth Weldon.

Some of the items such as a “No Capital Move” button are still relevant while the meaning of a sign that declares “It’s morphin’ time!” makes a lot less sense more than two decades removed from the debut of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show.

Within the larger time capsule, there are 50 smaller time capsules contained in old Post Office boxes. Orelove said spaces were sold to families to help fund the time capsule project.

“We were one of the last ones to do it,” said Rich Poor, who was present at the 25th anniversary celebration with his wife, Peggy.

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Peggy Poor remembered placing some unopened “Lion King” trading cards in their individual capsule — the animated hit came out in June of 1994 — alongside political buttons, earrings, coins and other objects.

“I recall putting in a big aerial photo of Juneau,” said Rich Poor, but he could not see the photo through the viewing window.

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Orelove said the intent is for the capsules to be opened in 2094, 100 years after the capsule was sealed, and for owners of the individual capsules to pass down their keys.

“Whoever shows up with the key will get what’s in the box,” Orelove said.

The Poors said they still have their key.

Some contents of the larger capsule are especially intended for the people of 2094.

A 1994 CBJ employee put a bottle of scotch in the capsule reserved for his successor, and a logger donated a chainsaw with a note in hopes that the device will be used to cut down trees at the same part of Admiralty Island that it had been used in the past.

Michael Orelove points out items to his Grandniece, Violet, inside the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitors closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Michael Orelove points out items to his Grandniece, Violet, inside the 1994 Juneau Time Capsule at the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Twenty-five year ago a janitors closet was turned into the Juneau Time Capsule. The capsule is set to be opened in 75 more years. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“He wanted a logger from the future to go back and use it again,” Orelove said.

Reviewing the contents of the capsule 25 years later, Orelove said there isn’t much he would change or any critical omissions he would right in hindsight.

“I think we have a very good representation,” Orelove said. “It’s maybe not valuable stuff, but it’s our stuff.”

25 years ago …

The average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.11, according to 1990s Flashback.

The national average for the cost of a dozen eggs 87 cents, according to 1990s Flashback.

The national average for the cost of a gallon of milk was $2.88, according to 1990s Flashback.

This week in 1994 …

The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, according to Billboard.

The No. 1 movie was “Clear and Present Danger,” according to Box Office Mojo.

The New York Times’ Fiction Best Seller list was topped by “The Gift” by Danielle Steel, according to the New York Times.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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