“Shelf Life” is a podcast from the Newberry Library about the humanities–and the humans behind them. Each episode features a new conversation with librarians, curators, and researchers about anything from the history of fake news to the secret lives of famous American authors.
The 1862 International Exhibition, held in London, is an oft-overlooked event within the pantheon of 19th-century world’s fairs—and for good reason. Occurring just 11 years after the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, the 1862 rendition came off as derivative, and a cloud hung over it due to Prince Albert’s recent death, Queen Victoria’s prolonged period of mourning, and the American Civil War.
Despite it all, the 1862 exhibition altered the world’s fair template in ways that would influence other such events held in the United States later in the century. In this episode, Ruth Slatter, scholar and co-creator of the Visit 1862 Project, resurrects the world’s fair visitor experience and discusses the legacy of the 1862 International Exhibition. She speaks with Elizabeth Cummings, Public Programs Manager at the Newberry.