Time Capsules

By Tonka Dobreva 12.15.2014 interact

The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS) estimates that there are currently between 10,000 and 15,000 time capsules sealed worldwide — and that doesn’t include the time capsules sent to space!

A time capsule is defined as “a container used to store for posterity a selection of objects thought to be representative of life at a particular time.” Below we take a look at some of the most fascinating time capsules in existence, as well as expert tips on how to build your own.

1965_Time_Capsule_II_interiorPhoto credit:”1965 Time Capsule II interior” by Westinghouse

University of Pennsylvania. In 1940, a 450-pound time capsule was sealed at University of Pennsylvania. It’s not known what items exactly it contains, but one is a speech that former President Franklin D. Roosevelt made at the school. The time capsule is set to be open in 2040.

Nickelodeon Studios. In 1992, a time capsule was buried at Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando. It contained items that kids considered important at that time. It was moved in 2005 to the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando and is planned to be opened in 2042.

George Lucas Time Capsule. Buried around 1997 at Skywalker Ranch, this time capsule contains trivia artifacts from Star Wars and from Lucas’ company. The creator of Star Wars has said in an interview that the time capsule doesn’t have a planned opening date, but is ” for some archaeologist 2,000 years from now to discover.”

The Crypt of Civilization. Called by the the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records the “first successful attempt to bury a record of this culture for any future inhabitants or visitors to the planet Earth,” this sealed airtight chamber is located at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Ga. It was sealed in 1940 and contains many books, voice recordings of historical figures, the original movie script of Gone With The Wind, seeds, dental floss, typewriter, a sewing machine, TV receivers and other tech gadgets of the time. It is scheduled to be open in 8113.

National Millennium Time Capsule. Buried in 2000 in Washington D.C., this capsule contains a piece of the Berlin Wall, a Hostess Twinkie, a helmet from World War II, a cellphone and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. It is scheduled to be opened in 2100.

The Immortality Drive. In 2008, a Soyuz spacecraft took a microchip to the International Space Station. The memory device contains, among other things, digitized DNA sequences of select humans (among them physicist Stephen Hawking, comedian Stephen Colbert and athlete Lance Armstrong), as well as a copy of George’s Secret Key to the Universe, a children’s book by Hawking and his daughter, Lucy. The mission of the Immortality Drive is to preserve human DNA in a time capsule in case some global cataclysm happens on Earth.

time-capsule-1Photo credit: Washington State Keepers of the Capsule

Build Your Own Time Capsule 

ITCS experts suggest that you consider the following important things when making your own time capsule:

Duration. You need to select a date when your time capsule will be dug out and revealed to the world. Centennial (100-year) time capsules are most popular.

Container. The best container for time capsules is a safe. The interior needs to be cool, dry and dark so that the artifacts can be preserved.

Location. Find a secure indoor location and mark it with some sort of plaque describing the “mission” of the time capsule.  This will prevent the time capsule from getting lost.

Artifacts. What goes in your time capsule is very important. Select a mix of items — both unique and trivial — so you give a good representation of your time. Designate an “archivist” — a person who would keep an inventory of all items sealed in the time capsule.

Make it official. You can have a “sealing ceremony” where you name your capsule and can invite your local newspaper or TV station to report on your notable project . Last but not least, let the ITCS know of your completed time capsule project so they add it to their database of registered time capsules.

Don’t forget it! As time goes by, make an effort to refresh everyone’s memory about the time capsule so it doesn’t fade into oblivion.

We’re curious to know — if you were to build your own time capsule, what items would you put in it? Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. Luke

    Wow imagine finding gold and tons of money in on of these “time boxes”.

  2. Rebecca Wolf

    I am so surprised how he knew that he was going to make history and made a time capsule for the future people of our nation to find and discover the amazing artifacts of his time and compare them with our time

  3. SirEBrum18.2

    If we wait till 2042 to open some of these time capsules, won’t we lose them? I know I would.

    • coni

      i know i would as well i lose everything i touch praticly

  4. Polly

    I will probably leave pictures of life today and maybe even some of the things in the pictures. It will be really fun do to this so people 100 years from now will know how much the world changed.

  5. Ted

    Its a mystery that capsules was in there for 200. So it might not open ,so what ever was in it will not come out. And I’m not going to lie it wont open.

  6. Zach

    i wonder what other ones are buried that we do not know about.

  7. S J239

    Money, some books, maybe some pictures of me, and my 2DS

  8. dcrytzer

    Capsules are a really cool way to save a piece of history to share with future generations.

    • Maddie

      I think our school should do a big time collapse thing because it seems really fun and cool to do

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