On Tuesday morning, members of the Muscatine Community School Board joined Jefferson School students and staff to open a time capsule that has been sealed inside of the cornerstone of the old building since 1927.
One of the builders who assisted in the removal of the cornerstone was on hand to assist in the opening of the box.
Jefferson Principal Corry Spies held a small camera over the box to allow the children to see the contents broadcast onto a large screen.
Board member Randy Naber was invited by Muscatine Superintendent Jerry Riibe to remove the first item from the box. The package was small, wrapped in thick white paper and tied with a string. Across the front the words “Muscatine Independent Schools” was written in a flowing script. Inside of the paper was a small black Bible.
School Board President Tammi Drawbaugh followed suit by removing the next item. The book had a blue cover, and pages that were still white. The front proclaimed it to an Auroran, the MHS yearbook, form the graduating class of 1926.
Board member Nathan Mather was next in line to draw from the time capsule. The front of the book said “Announcement Muscatine City Schools.” Inside was what would be considered a curriculum guide today. Included were requirements for teachers, lists of texts that would be used, and what “benchmarks” the children would be at by a certain point in each year.
The remaining items from the time capsule included the original proposal for the building of the school, newspaper clippings from inside of an envelope, two copies of the Muscatine Journal, and one copy of the Chicago Tribune, a directory of all teachers in the district at the time and a phone book from the Muscatine community.
After the ceremony concluded, Drawbaugh said, “it makes me a bit emotional thinking of what the thought processes must have been, deciding what to include. “
Dr. Riibe echoed the sentiments saying, “It is interesting to look at what they thought they should share, and how we are so interested in it today. Really, a lot of thought went into what they thought was important.”
The items removed from the time capsule will be cataloged, preserved in any way needed, and then returned to Jefferson school at a later date to be on display.