Once out of academia's hands, time capsules were stripped of their gloomy associations, and became symbols of hope and goodwill. The timeline for opening them dropped from millennia (Dr. Jacobs' treasure chest won't be opened until 8113) to a matter of decades, and people began including less cultural artifacts and more personal material. A Big Sisters organization in Boston, for example, assembles a package of diaries, photos, and letters that the girls look forward to reading as women only 20 years hence. The film is at its best when celebrating this uplifting sense of sending a part of yourself into the future.
Aiming to be fair, director Cathleen O'Connell also interviews an archaeologist, who points out that such self-selected collections are irrelevant to future scientists because of their inevitable bias. No question about that, but I still find it appealing the way people decide to archive only simple, daily pleasures -- from the man who buried items from all his local shops inside a Chevy Vega to the Voyager Record, which presents to extraterrestrials earthly pictures of smiling, contented people, snippets of Bach and Chuck Berry, and not a single image of war. When the 1938-39 New York World's Fair time capsule is opened in 6938 AD, our distant descendants will find wigs, Barney Google comic strips, and a copy of Gone with the Wind. Not the most accurate sample of the times, but presumably there will still be history books to fill them in on the rest.