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Project: Create a Time Capsule

The father of the modern time capsule was Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, the president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, who came up with the idea of the Crypt of Civilization-a sealed chamber at Oglethorpe-in 1936. The chamber was not to be opened until the year 8113. Three years later, the Westinghouse Company buried a torpedo-shaped container on the grounds of the 1939 World's Fair, not to be opened for 5,000 years. The term "time capsule" was coined by Westinghouse's PR man George Edward Pendray.Time capsules are all about posterity and sending messages to future generations. By their very nature they cannot be hurried. But they don't have to take quite so long. Less ambitious personal time capsules, not scientific or multi-millennial, can be done on a smaller scale and still reach across time to bring later generations an important glimpse of the past. Here are some suggestions for creating your own.SELECT A RETRIEVAL DATE: Choosing a fifty-year project may mean the capsule will be opened while you are still alive.CHOOSE AN "ARCHIVIST": This is someone who will remember the capsule, and see that it's opened.SELECT A CONTAINER: Anything will work, as long as it keeps the contents cool and dry.CONSIDER A SECURE INDOOR LOCATION: Buried time capsules often get lost.FIND AND SECURE ITEMS FOR STORAGE: Perhaps the most important part. Choose items that will explain this present moment to whoever opens the capsule in the future.HAVE A SOLEMN "SEALING CEREMONY": Keep a photographic record of it.DON'T FORGET YOUR TIME CAPSULE! Self-explanatory.REGISTER YOUR TIME CAPSULE: There is no charge. Visit and click on "International Time Capsule Society."FINALLY, BE PATIENT: Waiting requires integrity, but think: You have just sent your voice to the future.Photo courtesy of Oglethorpe University

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