Mathews Elementary School Makes History
On Tuesday, May 30th, the Mathews Elementary Time Capsule was officially dedicated by members of the centennial student body, capping off a yearlong celebration of the 100th Birthday of this central Austin public school. Mayor Steve Adler officially proclaimed May 30th, 2017 to be Mathews Elementary Centennial Time Capsule Day in a proclamation that was read at the dedication ceremony by 6th grader, Mateo Carrasco. After a rousing program, written and led by Mathews students, two Pelican cases were sealed into the 48 inch square steel and concrete vault that has been installed on the front lawn of the school at 906 West Lynn. A grassroots fundraising effort sponsored the creation and installation of a four-foot-tall bronze statue of ‘Mazilla’, the school’s unofficial mascot, designed by artist/parent BJ Heinley, in the fall of 2017.
The time capsule installation is designed to be a locally loved public art project inspired by the weird and creative culture of Mathews Elementary and Austin, Texas. A brainchild of a committee of Mathews parents and students, the project was developed to commemorate the school’s centennial anniversary. Mathews opened for service to the public in September of 1916, a time when Pancho Villa was still making raids along the border. The mission to raise the entire $36,000 to fund the capsule and statue involved an effective Kickstarter campaign, a Playland skate party, a Tacos of Texas taco party at Sazon, and a Porch Portraits project (photos of homes by Jessica Klima to be included, along with their stories) as well as generous donations from the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association and the Heinley family. Other contents are made up of cards from all 425 students, photos from around the school and neighborhood, T-shirts, bumper stickers, patches, a fidget spinner, and a pink cat hat, along with other toys, newspapers, and ephemera from the 2016-2017 school year.
The resealable steel vault contains two Pelican cases, along with clear instructions and dates directing when they should be opened. Several copies of the instructions are stored in the school safe inside the Mathews office. The twenty-year time capsule will be catalogued, celebrated, and refilled every twenty years, beginning in 2036, while the one-hundred-year time capsule case will remain in the steel chamber until the 2116-2117 bicentennial schoolyear. The bronze door of the time capsule vault is cast with a verse written by Mathews parent alum Jennifer Binford-Appel, that invites the viewer back to Mathews for a reunion at future openings.