In 1936, Dr. Thornwell Jacobs described his plan to create a permanent record – a time capsule – of what life was like on Earth for any future inhabitants, an article featured in the the November 1936 issue of Scientific American magazine. To assist him in this tremendous task, Dr. Jacobs sought the help of Thomas K. Peters, a scientist of versatile experience. Work on the Crypt commenced in August, 1937, and continued until June, 1940. During this period of thirty-three months, an astounding amount of knowledge was condensed: the accumulated knowledge acquired during the 72,000 months of the last 6000 years.

Jacob’s idea in 1936 created tremendous interest. Soon afterward the Westinghouse Company, which was building a pavilion for the 1938-39 New York World’s Fair, buried a project, which was not to be opened until 6938 A.D. It was called a “Time Capsule” and our language gained a new term almost overnight.

The encyclopedic inventory of items in the Crypt includes, in a swimming pool size chamber, 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 also is a device designed to teach the English language to the Crypt’s finders. No gold, silver, or jewels are included to tempt vandals.

Inside view of the CryptThe Crypt of Civilization has been featured in stories by the Associated Press, NBC, ABC, CNN, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and other publications.