Alexander's 

MONOLITHIC MILLENNIUM ISLAND DOME

Crossing into the next millennium is a time to celebrate as well as dream. Where we as individuals, families, communities and businesses have been and hope to go through the ages? If you are not already participating in one of the many endeavors somewhere else in the world, join us. Describe your community, business, and personal achievements as well as future plans and dreams and place these descriptions into our Millennium, Century and/or 50 year time capsules. The capsules, in turn, will be kept in the monolithic dome on an island (see the technical section for details).

SAMPLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM, CENTURY AND 50 YEAR TIME CAPSULES IN THE MONOLITHIC MILLENNIUM ISLAND DOME

A) Several executives plan to include descriptions of their business, including the company annual report for AD 2000.

B) A number of individuals will focus on genealogy. They plan to compile as complete a family tree description as they can for the 1000 or 100-year capsules. They may include photocopies of old church registries, certificates of births, marriages and deaths.

C) The 50-yearTime Capsules are a kind of "Envision Your Own Future" activity. Young people, especially the students involved in this undertaking, will be around to open the original capsules. It is anticipated that they may want to create a supplement or follow-up to their capsule, when they open the originals.

For the 50-year capsule one might try to answer: * What will my community be like when this capsule is opened in 2050? * What jobs will people have? * What will my life's work be? * Where will I be living? * What fun activities will we be doing? * What means of transportation and communication will exist?

D) The historical society is preparing an account of the community, which will span the time from its beginning to the end of year 2000. This account will honor the residents and employees who planned and foiled to build the township Preparing a detailed, illustrated account of the community as it exists today will be a major gift to our successors in the next millennium. The articles of incorporation, lists of elected officials, taxpayers "A day in my life" essays from a cross section of residents., as well as plant and animal inventories may be included. Our successors will be just as curious about earlier times as our generations have been about our predecessors. Just start counting the various historical and archeological endeavors, national historical sites, genealogy societies, and professors of anthropology and you will realize the magnitude of our own generation's interest in the past. The future generations will be just as curious about us. We can be gracious innkeepers: let the future "guests" of this land, the future generations, know what life was like today.

E) Grandparent messages to their grandchildren. Do you want your grandchild to know something special when he/she is older, perhaps wiser and able to see things from a different perspective? Our children will pass information to their children (your grandchildren) about their own experiences. Very often they themselves don't know why the grandparent did things in a certain way. In our mobile society grandchildren live far away from their grandparents and see them only on occasion. Or if there is a divorce in the family the grandchildren may become estranged from their grandparents. Barring accidents or fatal illnesses they will be around 50 years from now to finally hear from you.

F) One family has submitted an 80-page account of his father's life, which spanned services as an officer in 3 different armies during two World Wars and the hardships of a refugee. The contributor's mother retired from Yale library and provided a manuscript of her memoirs. The wife had her mother dictate accounts of her parent's lives. Her uncle, a well-known journalist, contributed a description of their early years in Lithuania. These accounts illustrate to their young ones that life in the US today is much more comfortable. Perhaps that will put some of their current problems in perspective.

G) Look ahead a thousand years? Who, me? Throwing a millennium party on a cruise ship, promotional cultural activities and exhibits or even spending 750 million pounds for a project which includes the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England are more predictable endeavors than trying to predict what life will be like 1000 or even 100 years from now. It has been estimated that the likelihood of being right that far ahead is less than one's chances in the Powerball lottery. But that is precisely the fascinating challenge! Can you let your fantasy go and then subject it's imagining to the best critique your experience and reasoning can muster? For example, if you could expect to live 200 years, what jobs and leisure activities would you like to try? Would you want to save up and try a single orbital flight or convert your savings into years of leisurely travel around the world? Which places in the world would you like to visit? Please let your imagination go!

H) A medical school professor has attempted to imagine some of the features of health care a millennium away. He expects competition and inventiveness in AD 3000 to be fiercer than ever. Bioengineered limbs and muscles will far surpass the strength and agility of our current bodies. Most of our cancers and the garden-variety artery diseases will be curable or preventable. However, the most fascinating psychological, physiological, as well as engineering challenges will face those enterprising individuals who will follow the traditions of the explorers from our past, including Columbus and the Vikings. Leaving our planet earth on exploratory trips, which will last decades and even longer than one's lifetime, will require fantastic dedication and faith. Returning from such a trip will be like rediscovering America. These explorers will be the modern Rip Van Winkles. The world such an explorer or his parents left behind will have changed dramatically by the time these crews come back. However, it will be fascinating to gain the news from their travels, to share views from far beyond the heavens and stars our various ancestors considered the habitations of their gods. Those of us, who share thoughts and dreams with the future inhabitants of this land via the time capsules, will also be part of that future landscape.

TAKE PART.

TIME CAPSULE TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

The millennium and century stainless steel capsules will be placed into insulated, steel reinforced concrete crypts. They, in turn, will be enclosed within a concrete dome located on a 10-acre island in a lake in Maine (see photo below).

 

The dome structure is sufficiently large so that it will not disappear into the ground, even during a millennium. The dome sits in the middle of the island, about 30 feet above the lake level, which, in turn is about 200 feet above the ocean. Even if global warming melts the polar ice caps, the dome will not be swamped.

The site had to be chosen carefully. Newspapers have reported misplaced centennial capsules. Such risk for a 1000-year capsule is considerably greater. Registering the century capsules is now recommended. However, even a formal registry may find it hard to endure 1000 years, but the island and dome will endure.

The site also has to be sufficiently free of commercial "temptations", so that the capsules will not have to be moved before the anticipated opening time. For example, the practice of inserting a capsule in the foundation of a major building exposes it to the risk of relocation. Buildings deteriorate or lose their usefulness. Demolition appears to be more frequent solution than rebuilding on the same foundation. Each relocation of a millennium capsule would increase the likelihood of damage to the contents. The island has no commercially attractive mineral deposits and the soil is too poor for farming. Cutting trees and moving them off of the island is no longer economical. It does not sit astride any potential highway routes either. Hence this island is extremely unlikely to attract a commercial venture or acquire an importance requiring vacating via the "eminent domain" mechanism available to the government.

The Monolithic Dome Construction: This dome started with a steel rebar reinforced concrete slab foundation (see diagrams) on top of a 4-inch thick urethane foam panel layer. This layer minimizes the amount of moisture that can reach the concrete. Vertical steel bars were also embedded in the foundation and were later attached to the steel bars reinforcing the dome itself. An Airform, fabricated to the proper shape by the Monolithic Dome Institute, Italy, Texas, was attached to the slab base. It was inflated using blower fans. The fans ran throughout construction of the dome shell and materials were brought in through the airlock. The double door airlock kept the air-pressure inside at a constant level. The Airform created the shape of the structure.

Polyurethane foam was sprayed onto the interior surface of the Airform. Wire fasteners were attached to the initial foam layer and fixed in place by follow-up layers. This created a base for attaching reinforcing rebar. which was arranged in a horizontal and vertical layout. Shotcrete, a special spray mix of

concrete, was applied to the interior surface of the dome in successive layers until the dome shell and interior walls became 4" thick. The steel rebar was completely embedded in the concrete. The Airform was left on the Monolithic Dome. It forms the super strong, waterproof, single ply roof membrane, which protects the insulation.

In turn, the vinyl of the Airform is protected from slow degradation by the ultraviolet rays of the sunlight by two coats of paint, an evenly applied base layer and the patches of paint of the murals done by the artists of the Eastport Gallery. Snow, ice and wind will eventually erode these layers of paint. They will have to be renewed or replaced by newer, even more enduring surface coatings.

The exposed edge of the concrete base was coated with black tar compound to seal it against moisture. It was further insulated against the freeze-thaw cycles by a 6-8" layer of urethane foam sprayed right on top of the tar compound.

The stainless steel frames and doors will minimize rust and have a class "C" fire resistant rating. The small window has steel wire reinforced glass.

Favorable conditions for storage of print and photos include total darkness and low temperature. According to the Library of Congress, Preservation Leaflet No. 2, entitled "Paper and It's Preservation: Environmental Controls," extensive research indicates that the lower temperature at which paper is stored, the longer it lasts. Therefore "a number of modem research libraries and archives have been designed with storage areas in which temperature can be maintained as low as 55 F". The storage in the dark vaults and insulation with 4" thick layer of urethane foam will help approximate those conditions in our dome.

Low humidity and acid free paper are also strongly recommended and will be used to preserve our materials. According to a consultant from the Smithsonian, photocopying pages of typed or written material onto commercially available acid free paper will be satisfactory. Totally sealed stainless steel capsules will help preserve low humidity.

Capsule protection by a second, or inner layer of concrete. Although the dome itself is expected to last a millennium, added protection will be provided by the 4" thick walls of the multichamber storage vault inside the second, deeper room of the dome. A moisture proof barrier between the cement floor and the bottom of the cement vault will not prevent temperature equilibration between the inner portions of the vault and the floor. The latter, in turn will approximate the usual subsoil temperature of mid 50's. The urethane foam barrier around the periphery of the capsule chambers will reduce the temperature changes in the capsules even further despite the summer-winter fluctuations outside the dome. The temperature variation within the dome has already been reduced considerably by the seamless, airtight, 4" thick urethane foam layer all around the dome.

 

A foundation has been established to fund the maintenance of the dome on the island, which is being designated as a tree growing and nature preservation site. The requirements for maintaining the dome are minimal. Sweeping off the leaves from the surface once a year and renewing the paint every 5-10 years are the major problems anticipated during the initial centuries. Even if a major hurricane drops many trees onto the dome, there will be little damage. The vinyl may need a few patches. A 10" diameter birch tree was dropped onto the dome as a test and created only a small indentation in the foam layer. The dropped tree didn't even break the vinyl skin. A forest fire is unlikely to even penetrate the dome shell, but certainly not the inner layer of concrete.

1000 and 100-year capsules: 1) There is a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) registration fee. It includes listing of your material in a common index and contribution to the trust fund.

2) There is an additional five dollar ($5.00) charge for each side of an 8 1/2 x 11" page.

3) Photographs will be stored in a separate compartment of the capsule at an extra charge, depending on their weight, as compared to a sheet of paper. We recommend that a reputable photo lab prepare them. Otherwise they are likely to fade. Technical advice is available from Kodak.

4) Storage of bulkier objects, such as a DVD and small player, can be arranged for a negotiated fee.

50-year capsule: Storing papers and photographs for 50 years will not require special technology. Fire and dampness may be the major problems. A sealed metal box in a cool dry and safe place in the school or town hall will be enough. However, a backup copy of these materials will be kept in the dome.

Deadline for submission of materials is March 31, 2001. Materials submitted before the deadline will be stored in a bank security box. Several subsequent months will be devoted to technical preparation and indexing of the materials. The stainless steel containers for the millennium project will be sealed into the vault compartments in the summer of 2001. July 4th and Labor Day have been suggested as appropriate for a small ceremony. The final date will depend on the preferences of the major contributors.

The March submission deadline will allow corporations to complete and include their last annual reports for the current millennium and to include them in the capsule. This date will also allow sufficient time for the cruise lines and other millennium celebration party arrangers to compile their commemorative data and include it in the capsules. It has been noted that a few months delay will not matter much by   AD 3001.

We will do our best to preserve your materials throughout the next millennium. If you think of improvements, which might facilitate our common goal, please let us know ASAP, since preparing for proper implementation may be time consuming.

Send registration, fees, manuscripts, and other materials to:

John Dudley

Alexander-Crawford Historical Society

216 Pokey Road

Alexander, ME 04694

Phone: (207) 454-7476


Send Technical Questions to:

Roland Paegle

38 Blueberry Lane

Alexander, ME 04694

Fax/phone (207) 454-3563

E-mail: rogra@ibm.net

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