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National Millennium Time Capsule

Humanity has long communicated across the ages through art, music, oral history and the written word and through the collection of artifacts to represent an era. This latest method was dubbed a "time capsule" by a public relations executive who organized the burying of a time capsule for the 1939 World's Fair held in Flushing Meadow, New York. An early example reaches as far back as the seventh century BC when a king of Assyria placed objects in building foundations for no other purpose than to be found in some future time.

The White House Millennium Council worked in partnership with the United States Department of Education and Pentagram Design, Inc., to develop a vessel representing us and our time to the future. Fashioned in metals that reflect our past, present and future, the flag design speaks to who we are together - states forming a nation bound by a heritage both common and diverse.

What artifacts, ideas, or accomplishments represent America at this point in history - the end of one millennium and the dawn of another? What hopes and dreams occupy the hearts of Americans young and old? The White House Millennium Council asked former presidential and congressional medal winners as well as students from every state and territory of our country to tell us what they thought represented America at the end of the 20th Century or what their hopes are for the future. They tell us of our cultural, scientific, humanistic, and technological achievements including the discoveries in genetics–the code of life, the dramatization of the American spirit seeking a more just life in The Grapes of Wrath, the invention of the transistor which set off the electronics revolution, and the freedom won and protected by American soldiers all around the world. They express many hopes - from the end of world hunger, to a cure for cancer and AIDS, to a stronger presence of the arts and culture in the lives of children, and to the continued strength of our democratic principles and civil rights.

The time capsule will convey to our heirs the pride and gratitude we feel for living at this time and in this place, the United States of America. The prototype vessel was unveiled at the Opening Ceremony of America's Millennium on December 31, 1999. It is currently on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. The actual time capsule, with a sampling of its contents, will be exhibited and housed at the National Archives and Records Administration.


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