Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"When the World Came to Campus"--AYP Exhibit Online

Last summer I had the opportunity to see and excellent exhibit at the fabulous Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. "When the World Came to Campus" exhibited objects from the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, a World's Fair that helped put Seattle on the map in many ways. So I am happy to see that the library has put the exhibit online.

In fact the online exhibit is far more rich than the physical one, in terms of the number of objects available. Exhibit topics range from Conception and Planning to Igorrotes and Eskimos at the fair. You can also watch a cute little movie about the fair.

Oddly, there is no interpretive section on American Indians at the fair, despite the prevalence of coastal native imagery at the event and the presence of many American Indians. Fortunately the entire image database is online and you can search for the Indians yourself. (Pictured here: Nez Perce family in camp, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909.)

I wish that more exhibits would make the move to the web as the objects are disassembled and returned to storage. A good museum exhibit is a huge professional endeavor, comparable to writing a book or article. Yet most leave no trace after they are gone.

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