JHM to open 100-year-old time capsule at festival

Tucson’s Jewish History Museum, housed in Arizona’s first synagogue building at 564 S. Stone Ave., will open a century-old time capsule at its centennial celebration on Sunday, Oct. 24.

The celebration will begin at noon with a street festival. The capsule will be opened at 2 p.m.

Placed in the building’s cornerstone in 1910, the capsule “shows the belief from our forefathers that the Jewish community would thrive, and it has,” says Eileen Warshaw, executive director of the museum.

The existence of the time capsule came to light during research for the building’s historic preservation designation. “We found an article in a newspaper that was written the day the cornerstone was put in,” says Warshaw.

Barry Friedman, president of the museum, says they have some idea of the capsule’s contents, but the question is how well they’ve been preserved.

After the capsule opening, a new 2010 Jewish Museum Centennial Time Capsule will be placed in the original space. The cornerstone will be replaced and sealed in anticipation of a bicentennial celebration on Oct. 3, 2110, says Warshaw, explaining that the new capsule will be registered with the International Time Capsule Society at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Ga.

Community members may help determine what the new capsule will contain by submitting suggestions on the museum’s website, www.jewishhistorymuseum.org.

In addition to the cornerstone capsule, individuals and families may purchase and fill capsules to be placed in a special vault in another part of the building, says Friedman. Those capsules cost $50.

The museum’s centennial exhibit is on display through December. Along with pioneer photos, documents and artifacts, it includes items from 1910 that are all but obsolete, such as a “string ball holder” used in a bakery or butcher shop, says Friedman. And just for fun, he says, it also features contemporary items that will seem old-fashioned in 2110.

For more information, call 670-9093.