World's Columbian Exposition Souvenir Fan

World's Columbian Exposition Souvenir Fan

Usage conditions apply
Many types of souvenirs were available for purchase at the Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, including fans like this one. Considering the Fair ran from May through October, attendees may have used these fans to ward off the oppressive summer heat.
The 1893 Worlds’ Columbian Exposition was an assertive statement about American culture and identity. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World, the fair was created by American business, political and artistic leaders to exhibit American progress and to proclaim America’s arrival as an economic and cultural force on the world scene. The Fair was an enormous success, creating a shared experience for a staggering amount of Americans, with 27 million visitors attending its 5 month run.
Its centerpiece was the remarkable Ferris Wheel, invented and designed to challenge the 1876 Paris Exposition’s Eiffel Tower as a the world’s most modern wonder. The Fair was an enormous success, creating a shared experience for a staggering amount of Americans, with 27 million visitors attending its 5 month run.
In addition to exhibits relating to agriculture, science and industry, the Fair hosted a variety of cultural displays, including an exhibit of American art and performances from artists such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and John Philip Sousa. The exotic Midway attractions featured performers such as ragtime pianist Scott Joplin and the dancer Little Egypt.
The African American community was essentially excluded except as performers and for the allowance of a day for ‘coloreds only.’ Black leaders disagreed on the proper response to this slight, some encouraging participation, while others demanding a change in policy, thus continuing the ongoing national discussion about racial representation and exclusion.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
Fan; Commemorative
Date made
associated dates
1893 05 01 / 1893 05 01, 1893 10 30 / 1893 10 30
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
cardboard (overall material)
black (overall color)
brown (overall color)
average spatial: 8 3/8 in x 14 in; x 21.2725 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Larry Zim World's Fair Collection
Expositions and Fairs
World's Columbian Exposition
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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