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30 July 2010

Ray Charles' Shades, Autobiography And Cassette In Millennium Time Capsule (2000)

Photo from the White House Millennium Council website, captioned:
"Charles, Ray, National Medal of Arts, 1993 
Mr. Charles’ sunglasses, autographed case, autographed photos, book and cassette" 

 The year 2000, nicknamed Y2K, was a crazy year. One of the oddest  projects was Mr. and Mrs. Bill Clinton's Millennium Time Capsule.
Ray Charles' sunglasses, photos of Earth from space, a Twinkie, Corningware, a computer chip, the Bill of Rights, a World War II helmet, a cell phone, GI dog tags, a color photo of the Eagle Nebulae taken by the Hubble space telescope, a recording of the sound of Louis Armstrong's trumpet and a chunk of concrete President Reagan chiseled out of the Berlin Wall, and other objects suggested by American citizens were among the more than 1,300  items sealed in the National Millennium Time Capsule, from 21 January 2000 until 21 January 2100.
The presidential task force didn't mind going into details. Carved out of wood in an American flag motif, the prototype stood 4 feet high, 6 feet long and 2 feet deep. "We developed 25 different designs," said Jim Biber, an architect from a Pentagram design firm, which collaborated with Robert Brunner, an industrial engineer, to create the piece. The actual capsule was made from three metals. The white stripes were in stainless steel, embodying America's industrial past; the red stripes in silicon bronze, symbolizing communication, and the blue stars in titanium, a space-age metal representing America's future.
"I hope this time capsule will stand as a reminder in 100 years of what we valued, what we believed in and what we created and what our children hoped for at this particular point in American history," First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said.
The first lady, who launched the time capsule project on the last day of 1999, contributed one policy book by President Clinton, a volume on White House entertaining by herself, and Saving America's Treasures, a new book that describes historic preservation efforts across the country, a cause Hillary Rodham Clinton has championed.
On behalf of the president, she submitted a medal given him by soldiers he visited in Kosovo. She said that when examined by another president a century from now she hoped it would stand as "a symbol of our never-ending resolve to fight for peace and freedom."
Conus Archive (ID 197665) has some footage on the capsule. Also see this and this story.

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