Fairs have excited and inspired millions of people around
the world by expressing the hopes and desires of their
times. Perhaps unwittingly, they also provide a fascinating
glimpse into the realities of those same times.
since the first
worlds fair in London in 1851, the goals of
worlds fairs have been both high-minded as well
as commercial. They also allow people to explore the world
outside of their everyday experience outside cultures,
new scientific advancements, and new inventions.
As times change, world expositions have changed to fit
those times. They continue to reflect both the commercial
needs of their times while presenting the ideals, hopes,
and aspirations of people even as those evolve.
of the primary goals of worlds fairs is to entertain.
Both the amusement zones and pavilions in worlds
fairs have evolved over time. As people have more and
more entertainment options, world expositions have continued
to find new ways to provide information and inspiration
in new ways.
history of worlds fairs is also a history of people
claiming them dead.
We certainly have seen this recently as people claim that
television and now the Internet have made worlds
fairs obsolete that we have now finally exhausted the potential to entertain, enlighten, and inspire
outside of ones own home.
We believe that world expositions are changing and will
continue to change with the times. There will always be
new ways to inspire, new ways to enlighten, new ways to
entertain. We also cant discount the attraction
of experiencing something new as part of a group, a community.
I think another reason people think they're dead, at least
in the United States, is because we haven't had one in
the United States since 1984 and haven't had on in North America since 1986.
Most Americans aren't aware that there have been eleven world's
fairs since the Louisiana
World Exposition in 1984.
fairs are still important.
They are related to both the Olympics and the United Nations
in many ways, but worlds fairs are unique in that
the everyday person can experience them firsthand, not
just athletes or politicians. Anyone can enter that expo
site and feel a part of something new, feel a part of
the world community, feel what potential man has for doing
good in the world.
Perhaps that should be the mission of world expositions
now to make us even the slightest bit less cynical
about the world and to let us feel we are a part of that
worldand you can rarely experience that from
your television or computer.
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