Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Primary Sources - Workshop in American History Cans, Coal, and Corporationshomesitemap
Introduction -Link Before You Watch - link Lectures and Activities Classroom and Applications - Link

Workshop 5: Lectures & Activities

Activity Two:
Campaign for World's Fair 2010

To become successful, the organizers of the 1893 World's Fair had to get the word out. Review the advertisements for the Chicago World's Fair and the essays predicting what the future will be like. Then develop a strategy for bringing millions of people to the 2010 World's Fair. Choose one of the following topics to focus your advertising campaign: expansionism, women, or technology and economics. Your campaign should include a poster and written copy or a live-action commercial. Use the questions to develop your campaign. Facillitator's Note

Note: This activity has two sets of questions: those that relate to specific documents and appear on each document page and more general, "big picture" questions listed below. You may begin with general or specific questions depending upon your preference.

Consider These Questions


What great city will be chosen to host the fair? It should be a city that represents a particular American vision for the present and the future. Name the city in your advertisement and include text that explains why it was chosen.


What are the featured exhibits for this world's fair? Identify at least 10 exhibits in your advertising copy. The exhibits should in some way personify the values, aims, and ambitions of American society's image of itself and its future in 2010.


What connections can you make between the World's Fair of 1893 and the World's Fair of 2010? Make some reference to the Chicago World's Fair -- the values, aims, and ambitions in 1893 -- and the technological road the country has gone down to get us where we are today.

Image from the Chicago World's Fair

"Chicago was chosen because it represented the first truly modern American city. It symbolized the promise of modernity and demonstrated how far Chicago had come since that disastrous fire some 20-some-odd years earlier, and in retrospect it was one of the best attended of American expositions. The plans included all the up-to-date examples of modern technology, electricity, sewage treatment, rapid transit."
— Jonathan Chu

  Primary Sources: Documents

(Click here for information on using primary source documents)


image of a generic historical documentPreamble to the 1892 Populist Platform

The People's (Populist) Party adopts this platform at its first national convention in Omaha, Nebraska.

image of a generic historical documentFrederick Jackson Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History"

Historian Frederick Jackson Turner assesses the significance of the frontier in a paper for the American Historical Association at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

Futurist Essays, 1893

These writings are predictions about American life in the 1990s by noted Americans in 1893.

image of a generic historical documentSamuel Barton, "The Wonderful Development of Florida"

image of a generic historical documentJohn J. Carty, "New Developments in Electricity Are Enormous"

image of a generic historical documentWilliam Eleroy Curtis, "United States to Dominate the Hemisphere"

image of a generic historical documentKate Field, "All Depends on Our Women"

image of a generic historical documentW. R. Grace, "A Great Era for South America"

image of a generic historical documentJohn Habberton, "Of Women, Literature, Temperance, Marriage, Etc."

image of a generic historical documentJohn J. Ingalls, "Remarkable Changes in Everyday Life"

image of a generic historical documentAsa C. Matthews, "The United States of the Americas"

image of a generic historical documentT.V. Powderly, "No Very Rich or Very Poor"

image of a generic historical documentThomas De Witt Talmage, "World Improving All the Time"

  Primary Sources: Images

(Click here for information on using images)


Thumbnail image of a poster from the World's FairWorld's Fair Broadside

This lithograph promoted the Chicago Day celebration at the Grand Columbian Carnival that commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. The top half depicts the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, which was advertised as the largest building in the world and had exhibits ranging from extensive mural decorations to pavilions displaying stylish manufactured products from around the world to liberal arts displays (medical apparatus, education, literature, etc.). The center of the broadside shows the top of the obelisk, and the bottom shows a view of the Grand Basin. The featured buildings are, from left to right, Agriculture Building, Machinery Building, Administration Building, Electricity Building, and the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building.
view small | view large

Thumbnail image of an The World's FairWorld's Fair Photograph -- Lagoon Bird's-Eye View

The site of the Chicago World's Fair, originally a treeless marsh with a central lagoon, was designed by leading landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In this bird's-eye view, a number of the White City's main buildings are visible. The Horticulture Building (far left) was an enormous greenhouse. The Women's Building (center) was designed by Sophie Hayden, the first woman to have received a degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The progressive exhibits in this building, including model hospitals and art exhibits, served to show that women were capable of doing most anything that men could do. The Illinois State Building (far right, with dome) was very grandiose and noticeably separate from the rest of the state structures. The Fisheries Building (right front) had two pavilions, one showing angling and the other an aquarium with saltwater shipped from Massachusetts. The Ferris Wheel is in the distant left. Finally, the Wooded Island was at the center of the Lagoon. The principal structures on this island were a series of pavilions called the Ho-o-den, presented as a permanent gift from Japan to the city of Chicago. The Ho-o-den was the first Japanese architecture in the Midwest.
view small | view large

Thumbnail image from the World FairWorld's Fair Photograph -- Grand Basin

The White City was the largest single undertaking by a collaboration of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and various artists, led by Daniel Burnham, to create a single work. To keep peace among the different participants, general guidelines were drafted. Some of the guidelines were that the buildings should be within the Classical style and that the cornice height should always be 60 feet. From left to right you see the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, the Statue of the Republic in front of the Colonnade, and the Agriculture Building. The Statue of the Republic, with its back to the harbor at Lake Michigan, symbolized the strength of the country that was the new home to immigrants from all over the world.
view small | view large

Thumbnail image of a giant ferris wheelWorld's Fair Photograph -- Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel was the star attraction of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. Designed by bridge builder George Ferris, the Ferris Wheel was an engineering tour de force, rivaling the Eiffel Tower's crowd appeal but surpassing it in technological know-how. Statistics tell all: It cost $380,000, held 2,160 passengers, and was powered by 2,000 engines' worth of horsepower; its vertical wheel was 825 feet long and 30 feet wide; and it grossed twice its cost in ride sales. At its unveiling, reporters boarded the wheel dressed in ball gowns and toasted Ferris's splendid invention.
view small | view large

Workshop 5: Introduction | Before You Watch | Lectures & Activities | Classroom Applications | Resources

Primary Sources Home | Map | About the Workshops


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy