Abstract The last decade has witnessed the emergence of practical general-purpose data base management systems (DBMS) as “state of the art” technology. In consequence, these systems are now widely used in a variety of application environments. However, many such systems were designed to capture current data, i.e., a snapshot of reality, but are insufficient for those applications in which past or future data are also required. Even so, there has been little effort to design temporal DBMS, and currently there are no prominent commercial temporal DBMS. This article identifies, explores, and provides an approach to designing a coherent architecture for a temporal object DBMS (TODBMS). It specifically involves the design, development, and implementation of TODBMS. We introduce the basic features of our system and provide an overview of the functionalities supported. In addition, we identify the major components of TODBMS and define the types of services each component should offer, as well as common abstractions and interfaces for these components. Application environments include management and geographic information systems, data base visualization, and robotics.