The World's Fair Historical Society's Mission:
The mission of the World's Fair Historical Society is to preserve the history of world's fairs and educate the public about how important this history is and how it has impacted society. Also known as international expositions or expos, many innovations and inventions have come from these events and many ideas on how to better society have come out them. This is history that a lot of people are not aware of and needs to be promoted so others can learn about it and have a museum one day..
The goal of the World's Fair Historical Society is to preserve artifacts for educational purposes.
Preservation of artifacts includes:
Artifacts: We have donated large collections acquired over the years to institutions best suited for protecting these artifacts.
Just recently much of our collection including a scale model of the 1964 New York World's Fair, was acquired by the California State University in Fresno, CA. The model in particular needed a good place to be and one main focus of the Special Collections Department at the university is world's fairs. Their acquisition of the model and our donation of the rest of the collection mutually benefits everyone involved, ensures its preservation and will be on display to the public.
See photos of the model.
Their website is: http://ecollections.lib.csufresno.edu/specialcollections/
- Digitalization: We also use such technology as scanning, digitalizing photos, magazines, old recordings and other items for future use.
- Active in Saving Architecture: Artifacts can include old buildings left from world's fairs that we actively work to help save by lending our voice to those involved. Examples of this are on this page.
At our society we also encourage future world's fairs and promote them. We believe that international expositions bring people and nations together. These events are celebratory and enjoyed by millions of people.
Part of this is encouraging the United States to get back involved with world's fairs, and two movies are about this topic.
Meet the Winners of the New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition!
The New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition received over 250 submissions from across the country and around the world!
First Place Winners; Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan, Seattle, WA
Text and photo courtesy of "National Trust for Historic Preservation." Visit their page to read about all the entries and the winners.
A few examples of buildings left
from past world's fairs
Besides these examples, any city that has had an international exposition undoubably has some structure or structures left from it. These buildings might be well perserved and in use or they may not.
We encourage visitors to our site that live in a city that has had a world's fair to look into what structures are left from it and whether they are being used or in disrepair, needing to be saved, and to become active in preserving them.
1905 Louis and Clark Exposition
I have visited Portland, Oregon numerous times and have researched three buildings that have managed to survive the Louis and Clark International Exposition of 1905.
The American Inn, now condominiums, the Fairmount Hotel, now apartments and offices and the National Cash Register Building, now a pub and theater. All are very well preserved. Follow these links to see what they look like.
The Belgium Building
The Belgium Building from the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair was saved and moved to the Virginia Union University after the fair. Thanks to the efforts of Bells for Peace to restore the bells to the tower, now called the Robert L. Vann Memorial Tower of the Belgian Friendship Building, the completion of Phase 1 was on November 16, 2011.
New York State Pavilion
Great News! This building survives the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair but has been allowed to go to ruin over the years. Finally, there is hope. Recently NY Mayor DeBlasio along with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the city council have allocated 5.8 million dollars to begin conservation efforts. The restoration effort has begun and the parks department will be looking at the community for ideas of what it should be used for.
Its three observation towers were the UFO’s in the first of the Men in Black movies. Go to the link below and click on the legacy tab on the website to find a history of the building and pictures of what it looked like in its heyday. Also, and internet search will bring up a recent NY Times article on the funds allocated to save it.