The Ark to the Future memory album is organized in a way that allows maximum flexibility and creativity, so that the end result will be just like your family—unique. A large section of the album contains pages upon which you will combine photographs, flat items (such as documents), captions, and handwriting. We call this the scrapbook section. The only restriction you have to keep in mind is that the completed book cannot expand more than three-quarters of an inch or it will not fit into its slot inside the Ark. If there is a bulkier item you would like to include, you can place it inside the time capsule.

The front endpapers are imprinted with the numbers of each year in the twentieth century, and the back endpapers are imprinted with the numbers of each year in the twenty-first century. If you like, you can use these pages to circle any red-letter dates in the history of your family.

Dedication Page
The dedication page, the first page in the book, is the last thing you will complete in your memory album. On the day that you and your family close the Ark, you will date this page on the center line, and fill in the date upon which it is to be opened on the line that says, “We trust that it has arrived safely at its destination . . .”

Inscription Pages
Think of this section as a guest book, or as the signature page in your high school yearbook. This is your opportunity to express your hopes and wishes to future members of your family. Sign the left-hand page on the day the Ark is dedicated, and leave the right-hand page blank so it can be signed on the day the Ark is opened.

Scrapbook Design Fundamentals
The first task in designing the scrapbook pages of your memory album—our term for the pages that contain Our Historical Family Album, Our Maternal and Paternal Family History, Mother and Father, Our Family, Our Home, and Gifts to Our Future Family—is to write a list of your plans and needs. You will need to gather both the contents of the album and the materials, like scissors and glue, listed on page 10. With a checklist of self-made instructions, you’ll be insuring yourself a stress-free, joyful process and a successful Ark. At the initial stage, don’t limit or edit your lists. Write down more than you will probably need.
Collect the material and review it. What are truly the most important items and memories? Next, compare your selections to the amount of space available in the album. Keep in mind that you will have to allow space for captions and text. Organize the material in the order in which it will appear in the album.
Composing your album pages is the next stage. You need only a little organization and planning to design aesthetically pleasing compositions. Balancing the page is partially intuitive and partially based on simple design principles. You should review the sample designs shown in this chapter to get an idea of the variety of approaches you can take. If you are concerned about your abilities in this area, then a good rule is just to keep it simple. Remember that, very often, less is more. Try different arrangements on the page before you apply the glue. You will see that these experiments will reveal the perfect layout for each of your pages.
If you like, you might enhance your photos with a simple border or decorative paper frame. Keep colors simple and neutral because you don’t want to clash with the colors of the photo itself. Think about the emotion shown in the photo and try to match that feeling with a border. For instance, a serious family portrait might have an elegant double-line edging or a border of gold paper. Remember to write a caption under or next to each photo and other items that are not self-explanatory. The caption should identify the people, place, and time period.
Have new copies made of all the photographs you want to include in the album, if you have the negatives, so that you don’t send your only prints into the future (unless you don’t mind doing this). Color photographs will fade over time, but should show an acceptable image even in fifty years providing the Ark is stored correctly. Black-and-white or sepia-tone photos have longer staying power. If you need to write on the back of a photo, you should use a soft (#2) graphite pencil rather than a ballpoint pen. Use an acid-free marker when writing in the memory album.
Remember to insert the enclosed slip sheets between pages that contain photographs or other fragile documents. This is to protect materials on facing pages from friction or from the bleeding of colors or inks on the opposite page.
Consider handwriting or computer-generated text glued on the page as a design element. Letters are beautiful shapes in and of themselves. You can design with different styles of writing, such as fancy script or block letters. Computer type can be enlarged and reduced, made bold or italicized, and stretched in any number of ways. However, most inks from home printers are not acid-free.
Write your captions, stories, and other anecdotes on scrap paper before entering the text into your album. You many not have the space for
everything you want to include and will have to do some editing. After writing the text, you can cut the paper and arrange the scraps on test layouts with photos and other memorabilia.
Choosing a main element, whether a photo, handwritten anecdote, or other printed material, is the best way to start a design. The main element is the focal point and may be anywhere on the page. After selecting a focal point, the other elements of the page should follow the main selection in approximate descending order of importance. By taking into account the relationships between size, texture, color, and placement, you will achieve a visual balance.
The variety of visual material that can be included in the scrapbook pages is almost infinite. Below are some ideas:

• copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, diplomas, report cards, Social Security cards, college ID’s, passports, deeds, mortgage papers, awards, certificates, military papers, and other official documents
• cards, letters, postcards, telegrams, stamps, envelopes, and printed
• pressed flowers, leaves, feathers, and locks of hair
• ticket stubs, travel itineraries, and hotel stationery
• wallpaper or fabric swatches from household items or garments
• menus, wine labels, matchbook covers, and business cards
• favorite quotes, song lyrics, poems, and prayers
• heirloom recipes
• children’s drawings and other family artwork
• tags, ribbons, and wrappings from gifts
• maps and house plans
• photocopies of your hand or a group of hands
• thumbprints or handprints
• the family crest
• political or current-events memorabilia, such as newspaper clippings
• professional and candid portraits, vacation photos, photos of the inside and outside of your home and your family members’ homes, reproductions of antique photos, and school or team photos


The Beginning of the Scrapbook Section
These are the pages where you can place photographs and mementos of your ancestors, going back as far in your family history as possible. If the photographs are one-of-a-kind, you should make a copy. Try to find items such as old report cards, a marriage certificate, or a piece of paper containing handwriting. Remember that your captions should provide approximate dates, explain the significance of items, and identify people and locations in the photographs.

Our Maternal and Paternal Family History
The enclosed Rooted Family Tree begins with the great-grandparents of the latest generation in the family—the generation that is the youngest at the time the memory album is completed. Most people will be able to trace their family history back even further, and this is the section in which you can record those details. Ask your relatives specific questions, do a little research, and you will be amazed how much information you can discover with a little effort.

Mother and Father
These pages are reserved for the people who are the parents of the latest generation of children—in most cases, these are the people who will actually be completing the memory album. The folks who have graduated to the level of grandparent or great-grandparent should be celebrated in the section called Our Family or, if space does not permit, in the Historical Family Album.

Our Family
These pages are the heart of the memory album—the pages where you are free to be as creative and freewheeling as you wish. If you want to include pages dedicated to grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, significant others, or even the family pet, that is your choice.
These pages can carry as much or as little text as you choose. Basically, you want to impart a flavor of yourself in your writing to accompany the images you have selected. Adults and children might note their favorite:

• song, singer, type of music, or musical instrument
• subject in school
• book, author, movie, performer, artist, or television show
• sports star, sport, or team
• color, smell, or texture
• food or drink
• type of animal
• make of car
• city, country, or vacation spot
• day of the week, month, season, holiday, or time of day
• hobby, activities, or pastime
• type of flower, tree, or weather

Adults in the family can address the following types of questions:

• What do you do for a living, and how do you feel about it?
• What are the greatest achievements of your life and your greatest regrets?
• What are your feelings about your spiritual life, about God?
• With which political party do you most identify?
• What is the message that you would most like to pass on to the children of your children’s children?
• What were the most important inventions of your lifetime?
• Do you wish you had been born earlier or later, or are you happy with when you were born?
• What do you most love and admire about your spouse?
• Who was the single most important person in your life? Of your era?
• Was there a turning point in your life? What was it?
• What is your nickname, and how did you get it?
• What is the best advice you ever got?
• What do you remember about your parents or grandparents?
• Are you optimistic about the future?

It might be fun for children to answer the following questions:

• Who is your best friend?
• What type of man or woman would you like to marry?
• How old do you think you will be when you get married?
• How many children would you like to have? What would you like to name them?
• Where would you like to go to college?
• What would you like to do for a living?
• Where in the world would you like to live?
• How would you describe yourself?
• What are your greatest strengths?
• What frightens you the most?
• What’s the smartest thing your mom or dad ever said to you?
• Will your generation do a better job of running the world than the present generation?
• If you could send a message to your children or future spouse, what would it be?
• What is the thing that adults should remember about being a child?
• What is the hardest part about being a child?


Our Home
This is the place for basic information on your present home—the address, telephone number, directions to the location, and perhaps information about the neighborhood. You might choose to include information about previous homes as well. If you have a key to the house you could place that on the page or in the capsule; likewise, a spoonful of dirt, which should be placed in an acetate envelope, could be taped to the page. This might also be a good location for a dried flower or leaf, if properly preserved.

Gifts to Our Future Family
Every family has something unique about it that should be preserved. What are the special traditions or practices that you want to pass along to future generations? How do you exchange gifts at Christmas or Hanukkah? Does Grandma have a special recipe that should be written down, just to make absolutely certain it is never lost? Do you have any religious or spiritual beliefs that you would like to communicate to your descendants? This section is the place for those gifts.

Consider the fabulous things that may happen between now and the day the Ark is opened. Family members, both adults and children, can challenge themselves by asking questions like:

• When will a human being visit Mars or some other planet?
• What will be the most important invention to come along between the time the Ark is dedicated and the time it is opened?
• Will there be a major war during this period?
• When will a woman first be elected president of the United States?
• When will diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and the common cold be cured, if at all?
• In what year will a human be cloned?
• Will extraterrestrial life have been discovered by the time the Ark is opened?
• How long will it take to fly across the Atlantic Ocean at that time?
• Will the world’s environmental problems be better or worse?
• Will time travel be possible?
• Will a major earthquake have hit the West Coast?
• Which nation will be the most powerful on earth?


Here is the place for the person or persons who open the time capsule to write in the events that have happened in the family since it was sealed. Note that the Postscript page contains instructions to that effect for the person who opens it. Here, the writer can go beyond the bare facts that will be outlined in the family tree: it is the place where the link among generations will be firmly established. The writer can note the emotional facts here, not just births, deaths, and marriages: who are the newest members of the family? What do they like to do? What does the writer feel upon opening the capsule? What was happening in the room when it was opened? Was the presence of the people who sent the Ark felt?

The Items in Our Time Capsule
Aside from listing the contents of the capsule, you should explain the significance of those items that are not self-explanatory. To whom did that piece of jewelry belong? Who gave it to that person, and on what special occasion? In addition, a stock certificate for a company like Yahoo or Excite might require some explanation in 2035. And in fifty years, it’s a safe bet that a floppy disk will be a curiosity, so such an item requires explanation as well.