100-year-old mystery package to “benefit and delight future generations” opened in Norway

By Mike Hiestand, Houstory Publishing Founder

So, I just watched a livestream of a “mysterious” 100-year-old package being opened after being stored in a Norwegian museum for all these years.

The Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang, said the package dates back to Aug. 26, 1912, when it was delivered by a local man named Johan Nygard, along with a note saying not to open it for 100 years and that its contents would “benefit and delight future generations.”

Timing — as they say — is everything, and the worldwide interest sparked by this small, indescript package was in no doubt helped by its 2012 delivery date. Let’s be honest: It seems like the world today could use a few “benefits and delights.”

So the Norwegian city of Sel took full advantage of the spotlight. As the event was shown live on Norwegian TV and streamed over the Internet, a full auditorium watched an unveiling ceremony that included emcees clad in traditional Norwegian dress, musical performances, dancing and the mayor with a pair of scissors to cut the package’s twine before turning it over to white-gloved historians to do the official opening.

(Note: I’m not going to SPOIL the surprise here. To find out what the package contained, I’ll let you click on the video link above.)

What is it about time capsules?

Certainly, much of it is just human curiosity, a powerful force.

But I think just as powerful as our curiosity to know what was in Mr. Nygard’s package was the desire of Mr. Nygard to know that we — living people  — would be opening his gift so many generations later, after his initial act was mostly forgotten. And boy did he succeed! From more than 5,000 miles away I watched along with a worldwide audience to see what Johan Nygard left for us.

Leaving a legacy — something that says “I was here” is, I think, a basic human instinct. Whether it’s hieroglyphics on a cave wall, a pyramid, a personal journal, a note scribbled in a family cookbook or letters or photos left in the walls  during home renovations (please, get a Home History Book  archival journal instead!)  — time capsules come in all shapes and sizes. And all are a treat. Whether you are the one who finds the time capsule — or as Johan Nygard might be thinking today — the person who left it.

PHOTOS: The Heirloom Registry spends a Saturday outside an Antiques Roadshow event

The Seattle Times estimated that 6,000 people attended the Antiques Roadshow event on Saturday in Seattle. During the day, representatives of the Heirloom Registry spoke with several hundred of them about their family heirlooms and family keepsakes— and the stories behind them — as the lucky ticketholders to the event made their way to and from the Washington State Convention Center.

Heirloom Registry friends and family members drove about two hours south from company headquarters in Ferndale, Wash., to help pass out free registry stickers and let attendees know a little about how The Heirloom Registry works.

Below are a few photos of their visit. To read the entire story, see The Heirloom Registry’s latest press release.

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Houstory Publishing President Mike Hiestand with Maggie McLaurin, Jessica Hiestand and Gabby Hall, outside the Antiques Roadshow event at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

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Maggie McLaurin passes out Heirloom Registry samples to those outside the Antiques Roadshow in Seattle.

Jessica Hiestand talking with attendees of the Antiques Roadshow outside the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle on Saturday.

Patty Hiestand (left) and Maggie McLaurin (right) distributing samples of The Heirloom Registry to attendees outside the Antiques Roadshow appraisal event, which was in downtown Seattle on Saturday.

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Attendees of the Antiques Roadshow leaving the Washington State Convention Center on Saturday.

Home history central: A collection of news stories for researching your historic home

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve written anything relating to house histories, so this week we are going to dedicate a few minutes to showcasing some of the more prominent news stories we’ve seen over the past six months on researching a home’s history. It’s not meant to be an authoritative list — but rather articles that have caught our home history-seeking eyes.

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Photo courtesy of The Atlantic Cities; Photo credit: Thomas Barrat /Shutterstock

(1)Researching your home’s past could pay off

Publish Date: Feb. 3, 2012

Source: Chicago Tribune

(2)History in the house: How to discover your home’s past

Publish Date: April. 13, 2012

Source: The Washington Post

Special note: One of our favorite home historians, Paul K. Williams, is featured in this article!

(3)How to dig up your house’s history

Publish Date: June 29, 2012

Source: The Seattle Times

(4)  “Unravel Your Home’s History

Publish Date: July 31, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities/ National Preservation for Historic Trust

For more information  on researching your house’s history — and free home history research PDF downloads — please visit the Home History Book Research and Preservation Center.

If you know of any other valuable news articles on home history research that you’ve recently come across, please share then with our readers. Hope you enjoy!

Your house is burning! What family heirlooms or keepsakes — if any — are you going to grab?

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Publishing Marketing Director

A quick post this week asking our readers a very simple question: If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s not my question. Rather, it comes from The Burning House blog. It’s kind of my latest obsession, as it allows you to examine — in a very personal way — the lives of people who choose to respond to the query. Would you choose a family heirloom or keepsake with sentimental value — helping to document family stories and precious memories — or that Gucci handbag?

Answers are posted from around the world, and are succinct: photos, with a brief explanation of the chosen content.

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What would you take with you? — Posted from The Burning House blog

There is also a book for sale with the same name.

“Of all the things you own, what is most important to you?” says the book description at Amazon.com. “The practical? Your laptop, your smartphone, what you need to keep working and stay in touch? The valuable? Your money, your jewelry, the limited edition signed poster in the living room? The sentimental? The watch your late grandfather gave you, the diary you kept as a teenager? What you choose to bring with you speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe in—your interests, your background, your view of life.”

What would you take with you? Does anything come to mind immediately? If you had to choose between the designer shoes purchased two months ago and that heirloom quilt handed down from grandma, what are you snagging? We’d love to know what you have to say!

Houstory® Publishing is the creator of The Heirloom Registry™ and the Home History Book™ archival journal.  If you have knowledge in a topic our readers may be interested in — such as historical preservation, family heirlooms, antiques, home genealogy or homes in general — and are interested in writing a guest column for us, please let us know! Contact us at info @ houstory.com.