“To Exhibit Fastest Fighting Plane at New York World’s Fair,” 1938 Vintage gelatin silver print
My guest on the show today is Louise Weinberg. She is the Registrar and Archives Manager at the Queens Museum of Art here in New York City, and she has recently put together an exhibition for the museum called Future Perfect: Reconstructing the 1939 World’s Fair. The exhibit collects photographs and other artifacts that chronicle the production of one of the most ambitious, and expensive, World’s fairs in history.
The 1939 World’s fair was constructed over 1200 acres on the site of a former dump in Flushing Meadows, Queens, and presented visitors from all over the world with an optimistic vision of the future: modern life as a technological utopia.
The Queens museum itself is located in one of the few structures that remains from the fair. Louise spoke with me from her office at the museum about the fair’s origins, the construction process, and how the fair’s utopian optimism didn’t sit so well with a lot of working class Americans.
First Trees for New York World’s Fair 1939, digital print
Robert Moses, Grover Whalen and Mayor La Guardia review plans at groundbreaking ceremony of Flushing Meadows, Queens, June 29, 1936, Vintage gelatin silver print
Building the Fair model, vintage gelatin print
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