What did we learn from Expo 2020 in Dubai? And what is the future of World’s fairs?
Join us for a conversation on a groundbreaking oral history project to explore the future of International Expositions and the United States’ role in them. We’ll discuss how we bring Expos back to the United States and do so in a more inclusive way that highlights our country’s diversity as a strength of our democracy. The event will also feature voices from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. citizens who recently took part in the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
• Maggie Lemere, Oral Historian
• Ethan Stanton, U.S. Department of State Expo Unit
• Alyssa Kristeller, Expo 2020 Youth Ambassador
• Albert Carter, Emirates Music Summit / AudioSwim
Expos, also known as World’s Fairs, are the world’s oldest and largest mega event, held every three-five years in host cities around the world since their inception in 1851 in London. Similar to the Olympics, which are world festivals of sports, Expos are festivals of culture, technology, innovation, design, and human excellence.
Past Expos have seen a multitude of countries showcase innovations such as the mobile phone, the X-Ray Machine, and the ice cream cone. Though Expos have not captured many U.S. citizens’ imaginations, for those who experienced the events within the United States and overseas over the last sixty years, the experiences impacted simultaneously their worldviews and views of their communities.
We can look to Fairmount Park to see how the 1876 Centennial World’s Fair forever changed the landscapes of our city, leaving enduring landmarks still famous today and inspiring innovative thinking in the Please Touch Museum’s ‘Centennial Innovations’ exhibit. But the “felt” legacies are underexplored and powerful. With geopolitics rapidly shifting, these soft power platforms are critical to illuminating U.S. values to international audiences. We also have an opportunity to rethink how we bring Expos back to the United States and do so in a more inclusive way that highlights our country’s diversity as a strength of our democracy.
Join the #ExpoConvo by sharing your story on social media.
This oral history has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
Click here to download your copy of the groundbreaking, oral history paper, ‘Experiencing Expos: An Oral History of U.S. Citizens’ Engagement with World’s Fairs, 1962-2017’.