Press/Journalists
Press Release
December 4, 2000
National Millennium Time Capsule Exhibition to Open at the National Archives

Washington, DC. . .What artifacts, ideas, or accomplishments represent America at this time in history? What hopes and dreams occupy the hearts of Americans young and old? President and Mrs. Clinton wanted to give Americans 100 years from now a time capsule to help them answer those questions about us and our era. The White House Millennium Council asked former presidential and congressional medal winners from diverse fields of accomplishment, as well as students across our country, to describe what they think represents America at the end of the 20th century or to express their hopes for the future. More than 1,300 students and medalists responded.

The National Millennium Time Capsule will be on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from December 6, 2000 through January 21, 2001. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The National Archives Building is located at Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Hours are 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. daily. After the exhibit closes, the capsule will be placed in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration, which will care for it until it is opened a century from now.

Eminent Americans such as Gen. Colin Powell, historians Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and John Hope Franklin, former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller, the "Father of Chicano Music" Eduardo "Lalo" Guerroro, and Ray Charles responded to the call. They suggested achievements ranging from our tradition of philanthropy to our ongoing discovery of the genetic blueprint of life. American democracy, diversity, human rights, and commitment to education were all held up as important elements of our national character. Elementary, middle, and high school students were asked to choose as a class what item or idea best represents America at the end of the 20th century and individually to share their hopes and dreams for the future.

The time capsule incorporates a waving flag design that evokes the dynamic nature of who we are together-states forming a nation bound by a heritage both common and diverse, and a people ever on the move. The materials used to fashion the capsule-steel, copper and titanium-reflect our past, present and future.

The vessel was designed to provide for the most responsible storage of the papers and objects over time to ensure that the sights, sounds, written words, and objects captured in the vessel arrive in the 22nd century in the best condition possible. All of the contents are stored in materials that absorb the emissions that papers, metals, and plastics give off over time and that lead to their deterioration. The vessel is ventilated to allow for such gases to escape.

Participants in the White House Millennium Council's project include Pentagram Design, Inc., which designed this unique vessel, the National Teacher of the Year program, the United States Department of Education, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Archives and Records Administration.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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