Ceramic Jar with Cork Containing Plastic Y2K Bugs


This turquoise and gray jar has a cork lid. It contains eighteen colorful plastic bugs.

Donor Jan Lilja received the jar as a gift from a colleague at the time she was the Y2K Executive at the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Food and Nutrition Service administers the nation's nutrition programs such as food stamps (now called SNAP), WIC, and school lunch and breakfast programs. Because most of these programs are administered through the states, territories and local governments, Lilja was also held personally responsible for preventing computer software problems in nutrition programs at these entities when dates changed from 1999 to 2000. To recognize the hard work done, the U.S. government created Y2K medals. She requested about 100 of these for individuals within FNS and arranged an awards ceremony. When the medals did not arrive in time for the ceremony, she purchased plastic bugs to put in the ceramic jar. Rather than receiving a medal, awardees received a bug and a paper certificate (for such a certificate, see 2016.3118.01). These bugs were far more widely displayed than the medals that eventually arrived (for such a medal, see 2016.0138.02).

She distributed the bugs as rewards to those working on the project.

Date Made: ca 2000ca 19991999-2000

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Computer Bug, Y2K

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers, Computers & Business Machines, Y2K


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Jan Lilja

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2016.0138.01Accession Number: 2016.0138Catalog Number: 2016.0138.01

Object Name: jar with cork and bugs

Physical Description: ceramic (jar material)cork (lid material)plastic (bugs material)Measurements: overall: 13 cm x 13 cm x 13 cm; 5 1/8 in x 5 1/8 in x 5 1/8 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b2-67a2-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1811446

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