Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

Exhibition at the National Building Museum Highlights Fairs in Chicago, San Diego, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, and New York

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Building Museum’s current exhibition Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s is the first-ever exhibition to consider the impact of all six American world fairs of the depression era. The fairs made modern design popular and created a modern consumer culture.

On display through July 10, 2011 , Designing Tomorrow brings together more than 200 never-before-assembled artifacts from the six fairs. In the midst of the Great Depression, tens of millions of visitors flocked to world’s fairs in Chicago, San Diego, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, and New York where they encountered visions of a modern, technological tomorrow unlike anything seen before.

The fairs introduced new products and ideas to the American public. Architects and industrial designers collaborated with businesses like General Motors and Westinghouse to present a golden future complete with highways, televisions, all-electric kitchens, and even robots.

The architectural and design legacies of the 1930s world’s fairs are visible in American building and consumer culture of the past 50 years. The fairs foretold much of what would become modern post-war America—from the national highway system to glass-walled skyscrapers and the spread of suburbia.

The National Building Museum is in Washington, D.C’s Penn Quarter neighborhood. Admission to the exhibition is free. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Visitors to the Museum can take free, docent-led tours of the exhibition. For up-to-date information, please visit www.nbm.org

Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Because democracy demands wisdom. McGraw-Hill Construction is the official media partner.

Media Contact: Carol Abrams, cabrams@nbm.org , 202-272-2448 x 3402

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org . Connect with us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook .

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