These days, you can see just about any place (or anything) in the world from your computer screen. But not so long ago, the only way for most people to experience the latest marvel was to visit an exhibition. This week, we take a look at the enduring world of pomp and pavilions: the exposition.
On May 1, the World Expo in Shanghai will open. It follows the long tradition of world fairs that ?began with London’s Great Exhibition in 1851, gave Paris the Eiffel Tower and drew 44 million Americans to New York to see ?The World of Tomorrow? in 1939.?
Montreal hosted the World’s Fair of 1967, better known as Expo ?67, after almost 10 years of planning and lobbying. This site from Archives Canada offers a great behind-the-scenes look at the event that featured 62 countries, live animal shows, and a list of special guests from Queen Elizabeth II to Bing Crosby.
This is the place where it all started: the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was a marvel of its time, focusing on the latest inventions of the Industrial Revolution. And when the exhibition finally closed, the building was moved and reconstructed to become the world’s first theme park.
France’s Exposition Universelle of 1889 coincided with the centennial of the French Revolution, and one suggestion was to build a 300-meter-tall guillotine. Fortunately, organizers went with a design by Gustave Eiffel?the Eiffel Tower. These archival photos are an astonishing look back in time.