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World's Fairs of Yesterday

DATES May 05, 1939 through October 01, 1939
There are currently no digitized images of this exhibition. If images are needed, contact
  • January 13, 1939 In his report today (Thursday, January 12th) to the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Laurance P. Roberts stressed new developments in the educational and maintenance work of the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Children's Museum. Other sections of his report covered exhibitions and Community Folk Arts programs which have already been featured by the press.

    There has been widespread interest in the American Folk Art Bibliography compiled and published by the Education Division as part of the Folk Art Program. Many individuals, women’s clubs, libraries, universities and museums have requested copies of this bibliography for their files. Though we expected a great deal of local interest, we were made aware of the urgent need for such material when requests came in from not only New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania but even from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. This publication is part of the experimental plan for studying folk art and should the interest in it continue, we believe such publications might be incorporated in our permanent plan.

    During the month of December the attendance at showings of loan material showed a continued steady increase as it has each month in the past term. The demand for films and slides has been so great that it has been necessary for the schools to make reservations for a full term in order that they may obtain the material on the dates when suitable for their programs. The requests for the School Service Units have more than doubled and the reports of the teachers are most enthusiastic. This type of material has proved to be most useful in the school activity programs, since it provides textual study material as well as illustration, and since it supplies in a convenient form information not otherwise easily accessible. The attendance figures on these plates are not as great as in other classifications of material because they are generally used by one class for special study for a month or longer and are not shown to large groups as are the slides and motion pictures.

    Worthy of special mention is the increasing demand from teachers for illustrative material in the fields of othnology and culture history, due to the special emphasis placed on the study of foreign peoples in the school curriculum at the present time. As a result of this demand we are building up a collection of slides and plates which illustrate the life, customs, and arts and crafts of peoples of the world. In addition we are increasing our collection of folk music, so that with the beginning of the new term we will be able to offer teachers a more fully rounded program.

    Since many of the films used in special Museum film programs are loans, the Loan Room has taken over the scheduling of all special motion picture programs. tip to this time we have been handicapped by antiquated equipment, but this month a new Bell and Howell 16mm. sound projector and a new screen have been purchased. Those will enable us to show both new sound films and the silent films already in our library. As a result for the coming term there will be three regularly scheduled programs each week; two of these on historical and geographical backgrounds for school students, and a Sunday program of culture history and art technique films for adults and children. In the case of this latter program special effort is being made to correlate the films with the special programs and exhibitions already scheduled for the coming year.

    Work was started in December on the reconditioning of the Special Exhibition Gallery and will be completed in time for the installation of the Exhibition of Drawings which opens in February.

    A contract has recently been let with money provided in tha City Budget for the furnishing of now lighting for the small Print Gallery outside the William Putnam Memorial Print Room on the second floor. This Gallery is being almost exclusively used for the exhibition of prints and paintings and it was found that the general lighting was unsatisfactory. The installation work is to be done by the Museum staff.

    The installation of new roofs over sections E. F. and G. was completed during December. This leaves only Sections A. B. and C. to be renewed to complete the work over the entire building. The request for now roofs over these Sections was on the schedule of approved projects in the 1938 Capital Outlay Budget and appears again on the approved schedule in the 1939 Budget.

    The prevalance of exceptionally dark days during the month of December has had a disastrous effect upon the lighting in the Brower Park Building of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Not only has the lighting been inadequate for the activities of the school classes, but it has been impossible to keep the case and the overhead lights on at the same time. In spite of the greatest precautions, more than forty fuses have been burned out during the month and all activities have been subject to constant interruptions. The Works Progress Administration inspectors from the Department of Parks have made a thorough survey of this situation and have drawn up plans for the complete requring of the building. No actual work, however, of any kind has been done although those conditions were made known last spring. It is hoped that the new year will bring action of some sort and that the urgent repairs and replacements can be effected immediately.

    Every Saturday during the month and particularly the Christmas week holidays proved to be such a strain on the Museum facilities that the staff was unable to cope with the crowds of children clamoring for admission. It was necessary to call the police four times in one day in order to restore order outside of the buildings. The Museum has never had any difficulty in handling the children once they come inside, but they are wholly unprepared to keep order among the many boys and girls who cannot get in and must necessarily wait in long lines in the park. It seems fitting, therefore, to begin the new year by stressing again the need for a new, modern, fireproof building for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

    The working drawings for the new cases to be installed in the World's Fair exhibit have been approved and construction will begin as soon as the blue prints are made. Mr. Henrickson and Mr. Hanson of the Brooklyn Museum Staff have made a survey of the necessary repairs and improvements within the two buildings and have included these in the Budget Request for 1939-1940.

    The Curator in Chief and the Supervisor of Education took Dr. Hammond’s class in education at New York University on Dec. 5th. This is the beginning of a cooperative relationship with New York University and it is expected that a small number of teachers in training will come to the Children’s Museum for experience next year.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 01-03/1939, 006-7.
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  • May 4, 1939 SATURDAY, MAY 13th, through SATURDAY, MAY 20th,1939

    SATURDAY, May 13 th,
    11:00 A.M. Motion Picture- “China’s Home Life; How China Makes a Living” (Sculpture Court)
    2:00 P.M. Lecture-Demonstration- “History of Music and Its Parallels in Visual Art” by David Le Vita (Class A)
    3:00 P.M. Songs of Lithuania. Presented in cooperation with the International Institute of the Y.W.C.A. (Sculpture Court)

    SUNDAY, MAY 14th,
    1:30 P.M. Federal Civic Orchestra of N.Y.C., and Federal Opera Co. of N.Y.C. (Sculpture Court)
    3:00 P.M. Sound Motion Picture- “Pilgrim Forests, New England Fishermen” (Class A)
    3:10 P.M. Organ Recital -Dr. R.L. Bedell (Sculpture Court)
    4:00 P.M. Manhattan Federal Band (Sculpture Court)

    TUESDAY, MAY 16th,
    10:00 A.M. Sound Motion Picture- “Pilgrim Forests” (New England) (Sculpture Court)

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 17th,
    1:30 P.M. Motion Picture - “The Frontier Woman” (Sculpt. Court)

    SATURDAY, MAY 20th
    11:00 A.M. Motion Picture - "Bit of High Life; Digging up the Past; Canoe Trails through Mooseland” (Sculpture Court)
    3:00 P.M. Sound Motion Picture - “The Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Group, Woodwind, Brass and String Choirs “ (Sculpture Court)

    ORGAN RECITALS (Broadcast over Station W.N.Y.C. from the Sculpture Court of the Brooklyn Museum)
    Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Frida[y]- 1:05 P.M. to 1:30 P.M.
    Saturday--------------------------------------------10:00 A.M. to 10:30 P.M.

    Exhibition of the Instruments of the Modern Symphony Orchestra and their Historic Antecedents - March 31 to May 14, (Second Floor)
    Exhibition of Mexican Bead Work of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Lent by Mrs. Dwight Morrow. May 6 through summer (Second Fl.)
    Popular Art in America - May 18 through summer (First Fl.)
    World’s Fairs of Yesterday. Material from the Brooklyn Museum Art Reference Library - May 5 to Oct. 1, (Second Floor Library Gall.)

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1938. 11-12/1938, 293.
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  • May 4, 1939 On Wednesday evening, May 17th, the Brooklyn Museum will open with a reception and pre-view for members and guests of the Museum an exhibition of Popular Art in America. The exhibition is being arranged by Mr. John M. Graham, recently appointed Assistant Curator of American Rooms and will include decorative pictures such as memorial paintings on silk and paintings on velvet, carved figures such as figureheads, cigar store Indians and portrait heads, weather vanes of wood and metal, carved birds and animals such as roosters, eagles, decoys, gulls, etc., stoves and firebacks, toys, games and children's banks, iron lawn sculpture and hitching posts, ceramics and chalk ware. The period most amply represented will be the 19th century with a few objects from the middle of the 18th century through the 19th century.

    This is the principal exhibition arranged by the Brooklyn Museum in connection with the New York World's Fair and will run through the summer.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 4-7_1939/Exhibition, 178.
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  • May 18, 1939 This is simply to remind you, in case you have not already seen them, there are two exhibitions only recently opened that you may want to cover when you are seeing the “Popular Art in America” show. They are: Mrs. Dwight Morrow’s Collection of Mexican Beadwork, first floor gallery, just off the Main Entrance Hall and “World’s Fairs’ of Yesterday”, second floor off the Main Entrance Hall.

    There will be beaded work photographs available at the Information-Sales Desk. There is no catalogue for this exhibition but one of the publicity releases covers the show rather thoroughly. A supply will be on hand also. There are no photographs or catalogue for the “World’s Fairs of Yesterday” Exhibition. However, we can fill special requests for photographs which we can deliver within 36 hours or less.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 120.
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  • April 29, 1939 World's Fairs of Yesterday will be illustrated by an exhibition to be opened at the Brooklyn Museum next Friday, May 5th, to run through October 1st. The material from the collections of the Art Reference Library is composed chiefly of official catalogues and publications of the times. Four important expositions will be featured: The Crystal Palace, London, 1851; The Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876; The World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893; and the Paris Universal Exposition, 1900.

    Displayed with the Library material will be Victorian objects from the Brooklyn Museum Collection and a lithograph of the Crystal Palace from the Print Department.

    The emphasis throughout is on architecture; but to supplement this and to give a more complete picture of each fair, illustrations of objects exhibited are also shown. These range from a fantastic sportsman's knife with sixty-four blades, shown at the Crystal Palace in London, to the up-to-the minute creations of the French couturiers of 1900. Crowds attending opening days, listening to concerts and viewing the exhibitions are also shown.

    The catalogue list following indicates the range and pictorial interest of the exhibition and the sources from which illustrations have been drawn.


    “Illustrated Historical Register of the Centennial Exposition, 1876”
    by Frank Leslie

    1. Concert in the Main Building - View of the Central Transept, Looking South.
    2. Interior view of the Machinery Building, while in progress of completion.
    3. Opening of the Centennial Exposition, May 10th, 1876 - Scene of the Grand Plaza in front of Memorial Hall.

    “Treasures and Masterpieces of art at the Paris Universal Exposition”
    by Gaston Migeon

    1. The Palace of Electricity and the Chateau d’Eau.
    2. Street of the Nations.
    3. The Grand Palais in the Champs-Élysées. General view.
    4.    "        "           "        "    "         "               "   The central nave. Contemporary sculpture.
    5. United States Pavilion.

    “Les Chefs-d’Oeuvre à l’Exposition Internationale de 1900” - “Collectivité de la Couture.”

    1. Sortie de théâtre en soire brochée. Modèle de Ernest Rauduitz.
    2. Toilette de cour velours ciel. Modèle de Paquin.

    “The Book of the Fair” by Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1893.

    1. The Hall of Mines from the West Lagoon.
    2. The Court of Honor.
    3. The German Building.
    4. The Ferris Wheel, Midway Plaisance.
    5. The Woman’s Building from the Wooded Island.
    6. The Art Palace Showing Eastern Façade.

    Print : Lithograph in color - George Hawkins

    “Building for the Great Exhibition in London, 1851”

    “Eiffel” by Jean Prévost - 10 Photographs showing construction of Eiffel Tower.

    “1851 and The Crystal Palace” by Christopher Hobhouse.

    1. Photograph of illustration of a Sportsman’s Knife.
    2. Photograph of illustration of opening ceremonies of exhibition.

    “Parnassus” - Vol. 3, Nov. 1931

    1. Photograph of illustration “Victoria” by Winterhalter.

    “Art Journal, Illustrated Catalog,” 1851

    1. Photograph of illustration of “Southern Entrance to the Transept”.
    2. Two pages showing objects of the exhibition.

    “The Dream City - Photographic Views of the World’s Columbian Exposition"

    1. A dance in the Street of Cairo Theatre.
    2. A performer of the Dance du Ventre.
    3. Dancing girl from the Hungarian Cafe Chantant.

    “Gems of the Centennial Exhibition” Philadelphia, 1876

    1. Cabinets.
    2. Chimney - Piece end Dado.

    “L’Exposition de Paris, 1900”

    1. Le Palais de L’Electricité et le Chateau d’Eau - Effet de nuit.
    2. Vue générale du Palais de l'Horticulture.

    “Illustrated Historical Register of the Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876, and of the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1878” by Frank H. Norton.

    1. Two pages of Statuary in the Art Galleries in Philadelphia Exposition.

    “Illustrated London News, 1852”

    1. Grand Panorama of the Great Exhibition, South and North Portions of the Transept.
    2. Two pages of objects shown at the Exhibition.

    “Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition, 1851”

    1. Illustration showing two gilt cradles.

    “Journal of Design, 1851”

    1. Two pages showing examples of material exhibited at the Crystal Palace.

    Victorian objects from the Museum Collection.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 4-7_1939/Exhibition, 175-176.
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