The Darker Side of Exposition Essay

The Darker Side of Exposition Essay

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The Darker Side of Exposition
An exploration into the unseen side of world fairs.

“Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world’s advancement. They stimulate energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information for the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped this onward step.”
President William Mckinley 1901

Introduction 3
Human Zoo’s or enhancement of knowledge. 4
Expo’s and Racism 5
Expositions and money. 7
Sustainability of Expositions 9
Conclusion 12
Works Cited 13

Exposition, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is ‘A large public exhibition of art or trade goods’ (Dictionaries, 2014). Since their birth in 1851, Expositions have always been at the forefront of design and innovation, showing the latest and greatest ideas to the rest of the world as well as breaking architectural boundaries. They reflect the contemporary events and attitudes of society at the given time. Expositions become a microcosm of society bringing the world together for one big show and a chance to top each other at who is the best. President William Mckinley gives a very positive view of exposition through his quote, expressing how much Expos have done for industry and world relations. Prince Albert, whose idea it was to initially hold a world exposition, his aim for the exhibition was ‘a display of international goodwill, as a peaceful pageant of national identities’ (Kemper, 2000) However there was a very dark side to the world fairs amongst the fairground rides and pleasure gardens a darker side lurked. Racism, imperialism,...

... middle of paper ...

... World's Fairs, 1851-1939. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Greenhalgh, P., 2011. Fair World: A history of world's fairs and expositions, from London to Shanghai 1851-2010. Great Britain: Papadakis.
Kemper, J., 2000. Internationalism and the Search for a National Identity: Britain and the Great Exhibition of 1851. Stanford: Stanford University.
Library, B., N.D. The Great Exhibition. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 April 2014].
Telegraph, T., 2012. The Telegraph- Eiffel Tower worth £344 billion to French economy - or six Towers of London. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 April 2014].

Figure 1- Netherland Pavilion 2000 9

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