From nearly a century following their inception in 1851, world’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living and democratizing design. The decorative arts they showcased were the physical manifestation of the progressive, economic, and technological ideals embodied in the fairs. Inventing the Modern World explores the ingenuity and diversity of decorative arts made for world’s fairs, from the London Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 to the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Impermanent as the exhibitions were, decorative arts are among the only surviving elements.

Exhibit 2 (Inventing the Modern World)

Exhibit 3 (Inventing the Modern World)

Exhibit 4 (Inventing the Modern World)

Exhibit 1 (Inventing the Modern World)