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World’s Columbian Expo Souvenir, Myriopticon

See the Fair!




Offering a World’s Columbian Expo Myriopticon. A true relic of the six-month long Exposition honoring the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing in America.

Opening in 1893, creating the Fair was an enormous task. The scope and size of the undertaking forced the commission to push the opening day back from late 1892 to May, 1893. Of course, the delay only heightened anticipation.

This charming souvenir, a wooden box designed to look like a stage, is bordered with lithographic images of a theater interior. The marquee reads “WORLD’S FAIR.” The sides and top are covered with period illustrations of images associated with the Fair: Christopher Columbus on top, The Chicago Masonic Temple on one side, a stylized list of Presidents of the United States on the other. The U.S. Capitol is on the back.

Inside is a hand-colored lithographic scroll on two rollers, with two turned wooden knobs on the bottom. Turning the knobs advances the scroll in the cut-out, displaying the various scenes in sequence. The panoramic scroll contains 22 different images, some of World Columbian Expo sites, including Miner’s Building; the Women’s Building; U.S. Man of War; Government Building, Manufacturing and Liberal Arts; Gallery of the Arts and many more. The remaining panels feature images of the U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents from George Washington to Benjamin Harrison.

Theater in somewhat rough condition; moderate edge chipping and overall browning. Scroll has a tape repair between the images of the Agricultural Building and the Fine Arts Gallery. The Fine Arts Gallery would eventually become the Museum of Science and Industry, the only building that still stands from the White City today. In a sense, the condition is a secondary concern—it was not meant to survive, so it is pretty spectacular that it is even still here!

WORLD COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION SOUVENIR Myriopticon: World’s Fair 1492 – 1892. 6 1/4″ x 5″ x 4 1/4″ inches. An ingenious miniature theater, which allowed children to replicate the popular oversize painted theatrical panoramas of the day.