Capturing Time: The New York Times Capsule was an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History from December 4, 1999, through March 26, 2000, that explored different concepts of time and the history of time capsules.

The exhibition featured the Times Capsule — a 5' x 5' x 5' sculpture of welded stainless steel designed by Santiago Calatrava, a renowned architect-engineer from Valencia, Spain.

The New York Times Capsule, a 5' x 5' x 5' sculpture of welded stainless steel designed by Santiago Calatrava, in front of the Weston Pavilion

The Calatrava-designed Times Capsule is not intended to be opened until the year 3000.  

© AMNH/D. Finnin


Santiago Calatrava's capsule design was chosen in an international design competition launched by The New York Times Magazine that attracted some of the foremost names in architecture, design, and engineering from 12 countries. The competition sought the best design for a capsule to preserve key artifacts from today for the next 1,000 years: a design that would be both a work of art and serve as an ambassador to future generations. Since the exhibition closed, the Times Capsule has been given a permanent home at the Museum.

Among the items selected for the capsule were the six millennium issues of The New York Times Magazine preserved in two forms—one is a specially boxed set of reproductions printed on archival acid-free paper, the other is a series of microscopic images etched into a two-inch, wafer-thin metal HD-Rosetta data disc, courtesy of NORSAM Technologies; a solid nickel LP record containing excerpts of popular songs and daily sounds plus five one-minute audio portraits of New York City sounds recorded at 9:09 a.m. on 9/9/99.  

Capturing Time: The New York Times Capsule