NSHA to create 150th anniversary time capsule

NSHA to create 150th anniversary time capsule

Marcia Davey, a retired teacher, hands her flip phone to North Smithfield Heritage Association archivist Al Menard back in May to include in the town’s 150th anniversary time capsule.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The North Smithfield Heritage Association is seeking items for a time capsule that will commemorate North Smithfield over the past 50 years.

NSHA President Richard Keene said the project came about as a way to celebrate the town’s 150th anniversary. The organization is accepting items from the time period since the town’s centennial in 1971.

“It’s not uncommon to do time capsules connected to community anniversaries like this. We thought it would be fun to do that here in North Smithfield,” he said.

The current plan, he said, is to store the time capsule in the Memorial Town Building the organization recently began leasing from the town. In 2019, staff at Halliwell Memorial School dug up a time capsule buried in the school’s front circle but found that many of the items had been ruined by water damage. Keene said they hope to avoid that by storing the time capsule inside.

While there are many good ideas, Keene suggested residents go through their photos and music albums for inspiration. Business owners, he said, could submit pictures of themselves with their business.

“Businesses are always changing in town. It’s great to see some of the pictures of the ones that were around back in the ’40s and ’50s,” he said.

Marcia Davey, a retired teacher, donated her flip phone to the effort. Davey told The Breeze she decided to donate the phone after her grandkids convinced her to switch to a smartphone earlier this year. They joked she should put the old one in a museum, so she found the next best thing.

“I thought well, it’s not really a museum, but maybe they’ll take it,” she said.

Keene said the organization also received some donations of EMA items from Peter Branconnier, the town’s emergency management director, and will receive a copy of the 2021 yearbook from North Smithfield High School.

The organization will collect items until the end of the anniversary year in March of 2022.

The project is one of several ways the town is celebrating its 150th anniversary. This Saturday, July 31, the NSHA will host a Heritage Gala at the Village Haven restaurant. Keene said they’re also working with retired Providence Journal reporter John Hill to write a history of the town since the centennial book was published in 1971.

“That will more than likely be one of our primary focus activities,” he said.

Aside from the Halliwell School project, Keene said he’s not sure if there are any other time capsules around town. There was some talk of doing one to commemorate the centennial in 1971, he said, but he doesn’t know if the effort ever went forward.

“A lot of people have a recollection of one, but no one seems to know where it’s buried,” he said.