The State Library Goes to the Fair

July 23, 2015

The California State Library, in collaboration with the Capitol Museum and the CA State Archives, presented a fun and informative exhibit at the California State Fair. The exhibit ran through the entire two weeks of the fair, from July 10-26. It was a great success, entertaining young and young-ish, alike!

This year’s visually striking exhibit honored the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Held in 1915, the exposition took up 635 acres on newly-infilled land in what is now San Francisco’s Marina district. Those familiar with San Francisco would recognize the only remaining structure from the exposition: the Palace of Fine Arts. The nine-and-a-half month “PPIE” not only celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, it also feted San Francisco’s dramatic rebirth after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906.

The exhibit showcased a unique combination of the historical and modern. Vincent Beiderbecke and Matt Bartok created a digitized 3D display of original stereographs from the exposition. Archival black and white film footage entertained visitors, and Gary Kurutz assembled a wonderful display of rare ephemera from the California History collection. Fair goers lucky enough to catch Gary during his volunteer stints were entertained with his extensive knowledge of the PPIE. Foundation Directors Thomas Vinson and Mead B. Kibbey graciously loaned memorabilia from their private collections.

Kris Klein worked long hours organizing volunteers from the library, the State Archives, and the Capitol Museum. Volunteers tirelessly and enthusiastically greeted visitors and shared information about their respective repositories. Next year’s State Fair theme is “Transportation.” Look for another spectacular entry from the State Library!


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2022 Kibbey Fellow, Francisco Centola, begins a three part article on transportation revolutions, Hui-Lan Titangos...

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