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World’s Fairs


World’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living. Items like ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles were displayed. And things like ice cream and the Ferris wheel were introduced to the world for the first time at a World’s Fair. Two hundred objects shown at every major world’s fair from 1851 to 1939 are on display right now at the Mint Museum. Large and small in scale, the diverse group of pieces shine with historical significance and tell varied stories of technology advancement from days long gone. We’ll learn about some of the standout pieces and about what a World’s Fair at the turn of the century was like.


Steven Plaxco - Chief Designer, Mint Museum
Brian Gallagher - Curator of Decorative Arts, The Mint Museum
Cheryl Palmer - Director of Learning & Engagement at The Mint Museum

Archival footage of world's fairs between 1900 and 1939.  Courtesy of the Prelinger Film Archive and the collections of the Library of Congress.