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We Were Here: A Short History of Time Capsules

We Were Here: A Short History of Time Capsules

by Patricia Seibert

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
How will historians in the year 5000 study our century? Will they examine plastic in landfills or will they discover time capsules? This well written book should intrigue readers who never gave a second thought to time capsules before. The history of time capsules begins with its precursor, the Egyptian pyramid. Historians have found the treasures buried alongside mummified rulers invaluable information sources. Shouldn't a time capsule, intentionally preserved for future generations, be of even greater value? The 1940 Crypt of Civilization project at Oglethorpe University contains a device to teach English in case the people who open it speak another language. Japan's World Exposition Time Capsule was considered high-tech in 1970, yet its contents would be considered old-fashioned today. The National Millennium Time Capsule sits in the National Archives awaiting the year 2100. While the flurry over turn-of-the century time capsules has passed, teachers should find the concepts raised in this book useful in the classroom. Students could have lively debates over what items reflect our current society and would be worthy of inclusion in a time capsule. Black-and-white illustrations, a glossary, directions for making time capsules and an annotated list of web sites round out this interesting book.
—Jackie Hechtkopf
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Seibert defines a "time capsule" as an object created, filled with contemporary items, and intended to be opened at a specified future date. Yet this text includes quite a range of time-capsulelike containers, such as Egyptian pyramids and tombs and ancient Chinese burial chambers, which were not created with the intention of ever being opened by living people. Black-and-white photos and descriptions of the Westinghouse capsule created for the 1939 World's Fair; two capsules buried on the grounds of Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan; and the New York Times millennial capsule all show the universal appeal of this activity. The planning and creation of the room-sized "Crypt of Civilization" at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, receives the most attention. Brief descriptions of the "Visions of Mars" CD-ROM and the MIT Sloan Digital Time Capsule, both created in the late 1990s, reveal the ongoing interest in developing new types of "capsules." An annotated guide to seven Web sites features small, but quite readable reproductions of some of the sites' pages. A short chapter provides a few basic principles for creating one's own project. More ideas can be gleaned from Tina Forrester and Sheryl Shapiro's Create Your Own Millennium Time Capsule (Annick, 1999).-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seibert (Discovering El Ni�o, not reviewed, etc.) narrows the definition of "time capsule" to include only sealed containers with a specific opening date. Then (evidently feeling that that didn't leave enough material for an entire book) proceeds to pad the discussion with examples that don't qualify: the pyramids, the Rosetta Stone, the tomb of Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, the engraved plates placed aboard the Voyager space probes, the thousands of hollow building cornerstones. But she spares only a few glances at the revealing, sometimes quirky artifacts placed into the "true" time capsules that she does mention, such as the Centennial Safe, closed in 1876 and opened in 1976, the Westinghouse Capsule buried at the 1939 World's Fair, and the granddaddy of them all: Oglethorpe University's Crypt of Civilization. The drab black-and-white photos don't help, and for readers eager to create time capsules of their own she provides such "instructions" as "you will need to research which kinds of containers can preserve items in the best way." The annotated Web sites at the end are a plus, but not a big enough one to rescue this uninspired effort. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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