Throwback Thursday – WKU’s 1937 Time Capsule

In this age of smart phones and modern technology, most of us on social media receive daily reminders of what life was like on this day in years past. A group of WKU staff with the same intentions built two identical copper boxes in 1937. One is housed in the Kentucky Museum, and the other in the base of the Henry Hardin Cherry statue—the 1937 time capsule.

It all started in the Fall of 1933 when a group of 16 faculty started raising funds to erect a statue of President Cherry at the new Cherry Hall. Some notable members you may recognize: Margie Helm, Mattie McLean, Kelly Thompson, Finley Grise, L.T. Smith, W.M. Pearce, M.C. Ford and others. They commissioned the statue, which was completed three months after President Cherry’s death.

A copper box was filled with artifacts, documents, books and photographs depicting life at the university and Bowling Green since the school’s founding. A second copper box was made as a duplicate for the Kentucky Museum, and visitors can still check the Kentucky Library Special Collections to visit these items.

The time capsule contains more than 75 items telling stories of President Cherry and the community. It includes: publications from the university like the Herald and Talisman, compilations written by President Cherry, enrollment figures, the transcript of WKU’s very first graduate with a bachelor of arts degree, donor letters, photos of graduating classes and faculty, detailed newspaper clippings of the university’s achievements and President Cherry’s funeral and life story, and so much more.

There is no mention of a set date the committee wished for the time capsule to be opened, and given that it lives within the base of a statue and its twin is in the Kentucky Museum, the future of President Cherry’s statue time capsule may remain a hidden treasure for centuries to come.