Visit the Fair

-meaning of The Fair, by SCP

The 1939 New York World’s Fair acted as a refuge and a representation of an idealized future for the United States, still reeling from war and the Depression. By celebrating the strength and progress of the U.S., and the potential for peace among the nations of the World, the Fair presented a kind of utopia; where all nations could exist in peace, technological advancement thrived, and the United States stood as a world power. The Fair celebrated certain aspects of the American and world experience, and omitted others, in the name of concocting a pleasant reality.

A Film by SCP

-meaning of The Fair, by Sam

The builder’s ideas came from a multitude of places, none of which were greater than the Great Depression. The exhibits in the 1939 World’s Fair, which itself was themed “Building the World of Tomorrow,” based itself not on the fear that the World would soon devolve into war but rather on the concept that the World would build itself out of the great depression. This idea is especially evident in the exhibits at the fair, which included such things as a Hall of Electrical Living, The Town of Tomorrow, and the Retreat of Death all of which promoted a vision of a future beyond the dreary life of someone living in the great depression. The Hall of Electrical Living was an exhibit about how man has harnessed technology to create a better World to live in. The Town of Tomorrow featured 15 model homes that were fitted with modern technology and appliances in a demonstration of how science and technology could be applied to improve the everyday life of the common man. Lastly, the Retreat of Death was part of an exhibit entitled the Hall of Man. The Retreat of Death specifically displays the declining trend in the death rate, an example of the miracles of modern medicine. Taken as a whole these exhibits show clearly that the mindset of the fair was not concerned with the looming war, but rather with the marvels that modern science and technology could create. Despite standing on the precipice of war, the United States was still filled with a Great Depression era optimism that the country could develop and build its way out of economic trouble.

A Film by Grace

-meaning of The Fair, by Sam

What followed this transformation was a realization that the United States as a country had limitless untapped potential. Out of that realization came the World’s Fair. Perhaps more importantly, the realization could be seen in almost all aspects of the fair, from the founding ideals to the types of exhibits that were presented. Even the tagline of the fair, “Building the World of Tomorrow,” projected a forward thinking optimism that the United States could lead the world out of its current depression and into a new era of prosperity.

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