– One day in the distant future, maybe someone will read the messages left in this extraordinary time capsule. Will future generations understand what our world was like? Will they think we were primitive, destructive and difficult to understand as human beings?
We cannot tell, but the Crypt of Civilization is the the world’s largest time capsule and it was deliberately created to convey a message to future generations.
In 1936, Dr. Thornwell Jacobs at Oglethorpe University in Georgia came up with the idea to create an extraordinary time capsule. Over the next months, he collected a huge number of objects for future generations. The Crypt of Civilization time capsule was designed to store records for over 6,000 years and it is the oldest millennial time capsule in conception and the largest in the world. The most sensitive artifacts were packed in containers made of glass and stainless steel.
The purpose of the time capsule is to show what life was like on Earth for any future inhabitants. Those who later open this remarkable time capsule will find a swimming pool size chamber with over 640,000 pages of micro-filmed material, hundreds of newsreels and recordings, a set of Lincoln logs, a Donald Duck doll and thousands of other items, many from ordinary daily life. There are about 800 textbooks, including 200 books of fiction, drawings of all of our inventions made to scale such as our means of transportation, communication.
Future humans will be able to see images of our sports, amusement and games. There are also motion pictures of historical events since 1898 and still photographs giving the history of the United States since 1840. various kind of sound records have been preserved and they include important radio speeches. Science related subjects are presented in form of images and speeches and there is of course much more inside this huge time capsule.
There also is a device designed to teach the English language to the Crypt’s finders. To avoid vandalism, it was decided not to put any gold, silver or other jewelry in the capsule. Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, who has been called “the father of the modern time capsule” believed providing future historians and other people with information about our civilization was our archaeological duty.
The Crypt, located under Phoebe Hearst Hall, is a room 20 feet long, 10 feet high and 10 feet wide (60 palms long, 30 palms wide and 30 palms high).
It is not allowed to go inside, but you can visit the sealed stainless steel door.
The Crypt of Civilization time capsule at Oglethorpe University was sealed on May 28, 1940 and it will not be opened until May 28, 8113.