A Global History of Expositions
Explore two centuries of innovation, entertainment and international relations through the rich history of world’s fairs.
From the Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle to the invention of television, chewing gum and hot dogs, world’s fairs have shaped our world. This resource digitises primary source material from hundreds of fairs – a vital collection for students of globalisation, imperialism, anthropology, mass communication, design and more.
This digital resource offers a unique insight into the phenomenon of international expositions. Over 200 world’s fairs and exhibitions, spanning 1829-2015, are represented through a range of primary sources. From planning committees to public reception and the legacy that remains, the impact of these global events can be examined in a comprehensive context.
World’s Fairs is a vital resource for students, teachers and researchers of a huge range of subjects including imperialism, race relations, gender studies, science and technology, consumer culture, architecture, design and more.
- Documents from more than 200 fairs including the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851 and the Milan Expo 2015
- Case studies of nine of the most significant fairs offer in-depth analysis of their impact and legacy, including the 1851 Great Exhibition, London, 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition and 1939/40 New York World’s Fair.
- A wealth of visual material including souvenir objects, photographs, posters and plans.
- Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
- Bibliothèque nationale de France
- Hagley Museum and Library
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Library and Archives Canada
- Missouri Historical Society
- New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
- Special Collections Research Center, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno
- Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
- The National Archives, UK
- The Newberry Library, Chicago
- University of Illinois at Chicago Library, Special Collections
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Fair Committee records, minutes
- and correspondence
- Official catalogues and guide books
- Exhibit pamphlets
- Photographs and slides
- Maps and plans
- Souvenir artefacts
- Audio interviews with attendees
- Tracey Jean Boisseau, Purdue University
- Cristina Carbone, University of Louisville
- Sarah Coletta, Montana State University
- Peter Hoffenberg, University of Hawaii
- Donald G. Larson, Founder of the Donald G. Larson Collection on International Expositions and Fairs
- Robert W. Rydell, Montana State University
- Michelle Warren, Dartmouth College
- Anthropology and ethnology
- Design and architecture
- Mass communication
- Imperial history
- Globalisation and transnationalism
- Travel and tourism
- Innovation and design
- Science and technology
- Essays from consultant academics provide pathways into the collections
- Interactive site plans
- Oral histories
- 3D artefacts
- In-depth guide to key exhibits