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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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"Dancing Girls of the Midway," photo by F.A. Rinehart, 1898
"Dancing Girls of the Midway" Photo: F. A. Rinehart, 1898. Courtesy Trans-Mississippi Exposition Historical Association

Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Festival

This event, similar in concept and design to a World's Fair, originally took place in Omaha in 1898. Its centennial was celebrated in 1998 in a nine-month program of events that included museum exhibits, historic re-enactments, lecture series, a documentary film titled Westward the Empire: Omaha's World Fair of 1898, and a 3-day downtown festival. The original Exposition celebrated the industry, natural resources, and cultural achievements of the states west of the Mississippi River. It drew 2.5 million people and helped establish Omaha as a center of commerce and culture.

Omaha photographer F.A. Rinehart was the exclusive official photographer for the 1898 Exposition. He selected sixty-four of his photographs of exposition views and subjects for publication in a souvenir book of photogravures. The Trans-Mississippi Exposition Historical Association has reprinted the photogravure book, and a copy is included with the project. Other project documentation includes an issue of the Council Bluffs Newsletter with an article on the Trans-Miss Exposition; reproductions of four photos from 1898; two postcards; multiple copies of a newspaper insert from the Omaha-World Herald on the 1998 centennial celebration; multiple copies of a brochure from the 1998 centennial; and a video of Westward the Empire: Omaha's World Fair of 1898, produced by UNO (University of Nebraska at Omaha) Television.

Originally submitted by: J. Robert Kerrey, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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