Legacy of the White City: Revisiting the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893
The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, or the Columbian Exposition, served to showcase the transformation of America’s international presence from the wild frontier to a dominant world power. It also signaled Chicago’s rise to fame from the ashes of its Great Fire of 1871. Among the Fair’s major themes were architecture, women’s representation, diversity, and technology. From May 1 to October 31 of 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition attracted 27 million visitors—a quarter of America’s population at the time.
More than 120 years after the Columbian Exposition, the Fair’s American legacy can be seen in this exhibit. We invite you to explore this period of rapid change, innovation, culture, and ingenuity.
Top: Installing a case Bottom: Conversations at the exhibition opening
This exhibition, which opened on May 8th, 2014, features original literature from the Fair. Most displayed objects originate from Spencer’s Thomas D. and Sharon Perry Galloway Collection. The exhibit was designed and executed by students Rachel Gibson, Alissa Meehan, Meg Schwend, and Sabrina Shafique as part of a an exhibition planning and design course (MUSE 703).
Exhibition curators (from left to right): Alissa Meehan, Sabrina Shafique, Rachel Gibson, Meg Schwend.
Museum Studies Graduate Student