Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: January 2009

29 January 2009

14 January 2009

Getting Obama's Attention about Expo 2010

The office of the president-elect's site, Change.gov, has a feature called the Citizen's Briefing Book.

In it, Bob Jacobson at the BH&L Group has posted about the issue of the United States Pavilion at Expo 2010. I've put in my two cents as well (and giving the issue a "vote up."

I encourage anyone else interested in the issue to visit the issue's page:

10 January 2009

Remembering New Orleans 1984

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair, I encourage those who remember well those 6 months in 1984 by helping to rebuild the city through Rebuilding Together New Orleans. The goal is to donate $8400 to the organization.

09 January 2009

Expo 58 United States Pavilion: What's My Line

In the last year, I've become a big fan of the Game Show Network's reruns of the classic panel game show What's My Line. They've been running episodes in order and they're currently showing episodes from 1958.

The host, journalist John Charles Daly, left for two weeks to travel to Europe and mentioned to the audience he was going to see "the fair in Brussels." I thought it was interesting that he didn't feel the need to elaborate what was going on there, despite this being an era when very few Americans had the means to travel abroad.

Weeks later, when bandleader Benny Goodman visited the show, he was asked about his visit to Expo 58 and what he thought about the United States Pavilion and its exhibits. He was generally favorable about the music venue but attempted to be diplomatic in the face of some criticism about the exhibit. Panelist Dorothy Kilgallen, also a columnist who'd visited Expo 58, expressed high praise for the exhibit.

I think there are a couple of interesting things about these exchanges. I'd like to hear more about what sorts of criticism was being leveled at the design of the United States Pavilion in 1958. I also find it interesting that this was considered a large enough issue to take two or three minutes away from a game show to discuss.

I think it's instructive that the quality of the United States Pavilion was seen as an important issue, one that affects other nations' perceptions of the country.

Fifty-one years later, it has become questionable whether the United States will even have a presence at next year's world's fair, the largest in history and China's first.

04 January 2009

25th Anniversary of the Louisiana World Exposition

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair, the last world's fair held in the United States.

I'm researching possible commemorations of the event in New Orleans this year, but in addition to any actual events, I'm working on some ideas for a retrospective web site that both marks the anniversary and afford people the opportunity to help New Orleans, which is still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

To that end, I'm soliciting ideas for groups I can partner with using the web sites 1984WorldsFair.com and 84plus25.org.

Know of any appropriate charities? Please let me know. Ideally, a connection to the world's fair would make the effort "click" and achieve the most attention.

02 January 2009

Season Pass Podcast Year in Review... and a Couple of Corrections

This week, I was a guest on The Season Pass Podcast for the third time. It was posted today and listening to it, I already found a couple of misstatements on my part:

Expo 2008 Zaragoza attendance:
I said that Expo 2008's final attendance figure was about 5.9 million, just shy of the 6 million they'd projected. I'm still researching the exact final attendance figures, but the attendance was closer to 5.5 million, still not too shabby for a 3-month exposition.

Barry Howard's United States Pavilion Experience:
I was right about his being involved in Expo 74 in Spokane and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, but his other United States Pavilion was Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan.