A Town’s Time Capsule Digitized

Yesterday, a customer came in with a piece of history. She was bringing us 8mm film found in the town of Needham’s time capsule, which had been placed in a cornerstone of the Needham town hall in 1902.

Time capsules are a wonderful way to bring a community together, whether that community is a large town like Needham, a small neighborhood, or just a family or group of friends. Typically, time capsules aren’t full of important historical information, they are preserved so that future generations can look and see simple everyday items that were important at the time, and what technology, in various forms, was available.

The spectacle is in seeing items from over a century ago in pristine condition. For example, the Needham time capsule contained a 4 cent newspaper, crisply folded, and books of notes from town meetings, all of which were over one hundred years old. There were programs for clubs and societies such as the Tea and Toast Club for Women, and a “phonebook” that was a single page of numbers because home phones had just become popular. These items speak to the time; they tell us how people connected with one another, what they did for entertainment, and how the town was governed.
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As technology changed after the turn of the century, communities buried away time capsules containing things like phonographs, radios, televisions, car parts, electrical outlets, light bulbs, cameras etc. They did this with the idea that, in hundreds of years, someone would open the capsule and learn how things used to be. They could understand how times have changed.

Technology is changing so fast these days that burying a time capsule brings the knowledge that anything we put in will be drastically outdated when the capsule is opened. As we have seen here at Play It Again Video, technology can change so much just within a person’s lifetime, and the technology we rely on to capture and preserve our memories can fail us or even become obsolete.

That’s why being in this business is so rewarding. Here we can digitize people’s precious memories and keep them preserved for years to come. That is how we helped the town of Needham unlock memories from the past. Converting 8mm film to DVD, as well as cleaning and rehousing the film to preserve it longer is one way we can help our customers make sure their memories won’t vanish due to a format becoming obsolete. Providing this service to the community and keeping history alive is why Play It Again Video started, and has to stayed in business for over 25 years. Just think—25 years ago, we were copying film onto tapes, and today we often put it onto a hard drive that can hold hundreds of hours of video and still manage to fit in your pocket. I wonder what we’ll be doing in another 25 years!

Visit our website at http://www.playitagainvideo.com
You can view a customer story of the Needham woman bringing the film in on our youtube: http://youtu.be/7VzafPfLcJo
If you live in Massachusetts, stop into our studio at:
112 Needham St. Newton MA

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