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On View: World’s Fair Souvenirs at the Queens Museum

The borough of Queens played host to two World’s Fairs in the 20th century — each a phenomenon in its time. Behind the Curtain: Collecting the New York Fairs at the Queens Museum delivers just what its title states — a peek into a collection of rarely seen artifacts and souvenirs from the famous fairs of 1939 and 1964.

Magician Al Livingstone creating the illusion of producing the 1939 World’s Fair Trylon and Perisphere from his top hat (Photo: Irving Desfor. From the Collection of the Queens Museum)

Magician Al Livingstone creating the illusion of producing the 1939 World’s Fair Trylon and Perisphere from his top hat (Photo: Irving Desfor. From the Collection of the Queens Museum)

Note: this is an exhibition for people who really love vintage souvenirs. It includes a “guest book” from the British Pavilion signed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England, a baby brontosaurus from the family that “resided” in the popular Futurama exhibit, Mold-a-rama machines that produced vacuum-formed Unispheres, and original blueprints of the proposed Willets Point Boulevard subway station.

While there do not miss the opportunity to view the museum’s most famous exhibit, the 9,000 square foot Panorama of the City of New York built for the 1964 World’s Fair. It comprises every single building, street, park and bridge in all five boroughs. Updates to the panorama were made through 1992.

Behind the Curtain: Collecting the New York Fairs is on view at the Queens Museum from July 27, 2014  through September 2015.

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