Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s at the Museum of the City of New York is an exhibition about yesterday’s visions of the future. Through the lens of six fairs, Chicago (1933/34), San Diego (1935/36), Dallas (1936), Cleveland (1936/37), San Francisco (1939/40), and New York (1939/40), we see what depression-era Americans imagined their nation would look like in the years to come, when financial hardships were overcome and prosperity once again reigned over our land.
Many of these dreams became realities, the spread of highways leading to outward suburban sprawl as well as the upward reach of skyscrapers that allowed Americans to live and work in the sky. Modern conveniences such has toasters, washing machines, and televisions, introduced at the fairs, became everyday household items. This exhibition, which originated at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, shows an optimism at odds with the general tone of its era but is characteristic of the ambition Americans have shown in hard times. Read the rest of this entry »