University of Maine presents the 3D-printed Dirigo Star to the Maine Bicentennial Commission for Maine Bicentennial Time Capsule. From left: Joan Ferrini-Mundy, UMaine president; Sen. Bill Diamond, chair of the Maine Bicentennial Commission; Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center; and Dannel Malloy, UMS chancellor. Credit: Courtesy of the University of Maine

Do you have a class ring sitting on the nightstand? An old book about Maine? What about family pictures at the local fair?

If so, the item could become a permanent part of state history.

The Maine Bicentennial Commission is asking Mainers for submissions for its time capsule as the group prepares to celebrate 200 years of statehood. Originally part of Massachusetts, Maine joined the Union as a separate state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise.

“It is both humbling and inspiring to think of how Mainers 100 years from now will react to the items we include, and how it will influence the way they think of the people who are living during this era,” said Sen. Bill Diamond, chair of the Maine Bicentennial Commission.

To be included in the time capsule, items must fit several requirements: be no larger than a paperback novel, be readily available at little to no cost to the commission and not include liquids, flammable or perishable items. 

In particular, the commission is asking for items that “may no longer be a part of Maine life in 2120,” when the time capsule will be reopened. Once items are submitted, the commission will allow Mainers to vote on which to include in the capsule.

A 3D model of the Dirigo Star, an element of the Maine state seal, will sit atop a granite base on a custom-made Heritage Timber cabinet with multiple drawers for future additions. The capsule will be placed outside the Maine State Library. It will be formally sealed in December.

The deadline to submit an item is at 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

Those who share Maine’s birthday — March 15 — can submit an application to be Time Capsule Keepers, who will help ensure the capsule’s other chambers are filled during anniversaries in 2045, 2070 and 2095. 

Items already selected by the commission include letters from state and federal officials; an item from Etna and Kennebunk, which also marked their bicentennials in 2020; an item from the Missouri, which joined the Union with Maine due to the Missouri Compromise; items related to COVID-19; and a commemorative bicentennial items such as the bicentennial coin, flag and pins.

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Matt Berg

Matt is a senior at UMass Amherst, studying journalism and history. Before joining the Bangor Daily News, he was the managing editor of his student newspaper and interned at the Boston Globe.