Wednesday
Jun022010

Today's Trip: Hagley Library and Museum

Hagley LibraryIf you're anywhere within an hour or so of Wilmington, Delaware, I'd suggest checking out the Hagley Museum, at the site of the original DuPont gunpowder works. The three-story museum has a history of the area and the early days of DuPont on the first floor, a rotating exhibit on the second floor (more on this in a bit) and a third floor aimed at kids, exploring newer DuPont products like Kevlar and Stainmaster.

Quite by accident, I discovered on a visit to the museum that the second floor had previously hosted an exhibit of World's Fair-related items. Not only that, but the exhibit was curated/designed by the Hagley Library.

I didn't know it at the time, but the Hagley Library is home to the corporate archives of many American businesses, including DuPont, Bethlehem Steel, local favorite Wawa, and many others. Today was a quick exploratory trip to get a feel for the library, and what items were available for research, as well as inclusion in the final film.

Patent Model Exhibit at Hagley MuseumIn addition to viewing rare brochures and advertisements for the fair, I was able to view a full filmed performance of DuPont's "Wonderful World of Chemistry," which was the main attraction at DuPont's fair pavilion. While I'd seen portions of the first part of the show previously, (it's a multi-screen/live presentation that holds up well after all these years, if a bit heavy-handed in promoting DuPont's products.) The real treat was the second part of the show, focusing on the science of, well, science. It was a fast-paced show with more in common with a magic act than a dry recitation of facts. You could do that same show today, and audiences would still be enthralled.

A special thanks to Jon Williams and Terry Snyder for all of their help in the archives. They may very well get tired of seeing me stop by before the film is finished. I would highly suggest if anyone out there is working on a research project regarding American industry in the last two centuries, that you check out the Hagley Library.

Thursday
May272010

Project Update: Research, Research, Research

I want this blog to be your way of seeing the process of putting the movie together, as well as our ups and downs of working on the project. So I guess the best thing to do is bring you up to date on where we are right now in the process.

I have contacted all of the companies that exhibited at the fair, looking for any archival materials they may have, along with leads on great interview candidates. I suppose it should be obvious, but one of the toughest parts of finding this stuff is several of the companies have changed hands many times, or have gone out of business in the 45+ years since the fair ended. I have to say though, for the most part, the archivists I've talked to have been very helpful and open with what's available in their archives. It's unfortunate to chat with archivists who are themselves disappointed that their company didn't keep more things from the fair.

Over the next few weeks we'll be focusing on visiting some of the museums with materials from the fair, and we've got our first big interview shoot in early June. More on that later... 

Saturday
May222010

Welcome to After the Fair

Hello, and welcome to the site for our film focusing on the legacy of the 1964-65 World's Fair. We're still getting moved into the site, but look for more blogs, clips, and photos soon.

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