Experience, Memory, and the History of the Fair
This chapter, which examines experience, memory, and the history of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, placing the fair into its surrounding contemporary cultural contexts, looks at the function of fairs, especially those held within the United States during this period. Trying to isolate fairs from other similar attractions such as amusement parks and trade shows exaggerates the importance and singularity of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. It is also a distortion to depict it outside of a developing European/American culture of world's fairs. The chapter also discusses nineteenth-century display and pageant culture, as well as tourism, all of which were represented at the time in St. Louis. It then places the St. Louis Fair in its specific historical context, emphasizing the special circumstances that brought it to the city. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the intellectual history of the Fair as it was reflected in its important Congress of Arts and Sciences, which attracted hundreds of important thinkers from the United States, Europe, and beyond.
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