When I was younger, I visited the Space Needle in Seattle with my cousin and best friend. I don’t know much about the Space Needle but I do know that was
built for the World’s Fair when it was in Seattle in 1962. I also didn’t know much about the World’s Fair, so when I was invited to visit Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair at the Field Museum in Chicago, I didn’t really know what I was in for, but I knew I would walk away with a better understanding.
I’ve visited The Field Museum before for special exhibits but the difference this time was that I was visiting an exhibit that explained the very reason the Field Museum exists! The Field Museum was meant to be a permanent exhibit of the artifacts from the World’s Fair once it was gone, a collection of things from around the world that could all be seen in one place all of the time.
Seeing all the artifacts from the Fair when it was in Chicago and reading about what the Fair was, what it accomplished, what it sought to do, and some of the problems with the world’s fair was kind of exciting. It reminded me of our preparation in Indianapolis for the big Super Bowl in 2010 — the money that was spent to prepare our city, the training that took place to prepare our citizens, the excitement surrounding the idea that this special event was coming to our hometown.
As I walked through the World’s Fair Exhibit, I could understand the excitement that must have surrounded the people of Chicago. As I looked at the artifacts, I remembered the thrill I felt walking through Super Bowl Village and I can only guess that my anticipation was a fraction of what the people felt walking through Worlds Fair. Imagine seeing things from around the world that you had no access to otherwise; there was no Internet to Google these items, no airplane to jump aboard to quickly and economically visit these far-off places, there were no discussion boards to discuss new ideas, new ways of looking at things, other cultures, rare discoveries!
Within the exhibit you’ll see 200 items from the Fair that haven’t been on display since 1893 including tickets, account ledgers, instruments. Something that encouraged me was how far we’ve come as a society in how we view and treat other cultures when presenting their stories and how we relate to the natural world around us. Look for those stories at the exhibit. Also, check out the way modern technology has
allowed us to learn about the artifacts and advances from 120 years ago. One of my favorite things about the Field Museum is their app for Android and iPhone devices. It really compliments your experience throughout the museum and allows you to have a glimpse of being there when it comes to the Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair.
I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.