Re­gion: Conn Col­lege stu­dents cre­ate pro­pos­als for New Lon­don time cap­sule

Conn Col­lege stu­dents have been work­ing on pro­pos­als dur­ing sem­i­nar

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By ERICA MOSER Day Staff Writer

New Lon­don — If some Con­necti­cut Col­lege stu­dents have it their way, the cre­ation and place­ment of a fu­ture New Lon­don time cap­sule will look quite dif­fer­ent than the one placed in 1912.

They heard an un­der­whelm­ing re­sponse to the con­tents of the box, re­vealed in Novem­ber 2016 to be news­pa­pers, coins and the by­laws of the Brainard Ma­sonic Lodge. One com­menter on the ar­ti­cle about the re­veal gave it a C+.

In ad­di­tion, ma­sons had to drill through lay­ers of plas­ter, bricks and lime­stone to lo­cate the cop­per box sealed in the City Hall cor­ner­stone.

A fu­ture time cap­sule “could be po­ten­tially a tourist spot, a place to visit in New Lon­don,” said Rose Mon­tera, a se­nior ma­jor­ing in art his­tory and mu­seum stud­ies. “By putting it back in City Hall, hid­ing it away, it’s re­peat­ing what was done in a way that doesn’t make sense to a lot of us.”

Mon­tera is one of 17 stu­dents in Time Cap­sule: New Lon­don, a 400-level sem­i­nar be­ing of­fered at Con­necti­cut Col­lege this se­mes­ter. Taught by Anna Val­lye, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of art his­tory and ar­chi­tec­tural stud­ies, the course will be held again in the spring.

The plan is for stu­dents to then sub­mit a pro­posal to city of­fi­cials, and the class prob­a­bly will do a pre­sen­ta­tion in front of the City Coun­cil, which the pub­lic is wel­come to at­tend.

The sem­i­nar came about in con­junc­tion with the city’s ex­plo­ration of ren­o­va­tions to City Hall, though a time-

line for that work is un­clear, as plans have been de­layed due to fund­ing is­sues.

Quin­lan Low, a se­nior ar­chi­tec­ture stud­ies and stu­dio art ma­jor, said one thing she liked about the course is “we know that what we’re re­search­ing and pre­sent­ing at least is hope­fully go­ing to be used in real life.”

Val­lye split her stu­dents into six re­search groups: de­fense uses of the coast, play and profit on the coast, com­merce and in­dus­try, New Lon­don gov­er­nance, cul­ture, and the phys­i­cal con­tainer of the time cap­sule. The first three groups pre­sented their re­search on Nov. 28, and the lat­ter three on Dec. 5.

For ex­am­ple, the sec­ond group re­searched the his­tory of Ocean Beach, Yale-Har­vard boat races, ar­chi­tec­ture on Hunt­ing­ton Street, coastal trans­porta­tion and light­houses. The cul­ture group re­searched Hy­gienic Art, Cen­tro de la Co­mu­nidad, Church of the City and Palmer Au­di­to­rium at Con­necti­cut Col­lege.

The last group dis­cussed how long a cap­sule should be sealed, the mer­its of a cylin­der ver­sus a box, con­tainer ma­te­ri­als, cost and lo­ca­tion of place­ment. Mon­tera liked that the Detroit Cen­tury Box, cre­ated in 1900 and opened in 2000, in­cluded com­mu­nity lead­ers’ pre­dic­tions for the fu­ture.

Some ideas that se­nior Na­dia Bed­nar­czuk had for putting in the time cap­sule were menus from pop­u­lar New Lon­don restau­rants, small vials filled with sand and Ap­ple prod­ucts.

Other ideas from stu­dents in­cluded street signs, but­tons, Union Sta­tion tick­ets, sound record­ings, min­utes from City Coun­cil meet­ings and tooth­paste from Sh­effield Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Felix Reyes, de­vel­op­ment and plan­ning di­rec­tor for the city, en­cour­aged the ad­di­tion of tech­nol­ogy, say­ing, “I’m sure 100 years from now, they’ll do what­ever they can to fig­ure this out: ‘What’s on this USB?’”

Reyes also com­mented it would be a shame to put a lot of ef­fort into a time cap­sule and then place it in a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, with risk of ruin from New Eng­land weather. One stu­dent com­mented on the im­pact of ris­ing sea lev­els, say­ing it would be dif­fi­cult for peo­ple in the fu­ture to re­move a cap­sule that’s un­der­wa­ter.

Other city of­fi­cials at­tend­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion this past Wed­nes­day were Mayor Michael Passero and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Co­or­di­na­tor Tom Bom­bria.

The sem­i­nar also in­volved con­sul­ta­tion with New Lon­don Land­marks and the Cus­tom House Mar­itime Mu­seum, archival re­search, and read­ings on time cap­sules and New Lon­don his­tory.

“It’s re­ally use­ful to have fresh eyes look at our his­tory and look at where we’re at to­day, and spec­u­late as to where we’re go­ing,” Passero said.

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