World’s Fairs and Expositions

Collection Description

World’s fairs were landmark events in an era before television and the World Wide Web, before long-distance travel became a routine experience for many people. The Wolfsonian’s collection traces the evolution of the fairs, from the 1851 Crystal Palace Exposition in London to the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Among the world’s fair material in the collection are souvenirs and other commemorative objects, drawings for the pavilions, objects and artwork that were displayed at the fairs, and a vast amount of publications, from multi-volume official catalogs to brochures.

Souvenir spoon from Saint Louis World's Fair, 1904
Souvenir plaque from the Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago
Polyorama Panoptique: Le Liege à Aix-La-Chapelle
Closeup of building with colonnade and gardens
Design for an entrance card, Utrecht Jaarbeurs, 7 t/m 16 Sept. 1948 [Utrecht Industrial Fair, 7 to 16 Sept. 1948]
World's Fair - Chicago 1833 A Century of Progress 1933
Deutsche Werkstätten Jetzt [The German Workshops Now]
Souvenir spoon from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Paul Nash: An Official Artist on the Western Front
Souvenir thermometer from the Chicago World's Fair 1934
Promote the General Welfare [Produced for 1939 New York World's Fair U.S. Government Building competition, organized by Section of Fine Arts, Treasury Department (unrealized)]
Wineglass: Embassy 4900 Line
International Industries Fair Utrecht, Holland
Souvenir coaster from A Century of Progress, Chicago: Travel Building