“Ladies at the Fair” Explores Females’ Historical Experiences Through a Modern Lens

The Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition attracted two million people to Omaha in 1898, exactly 120 years ago. Its success depended on hundreds of women who were involved as organizers, employees, performers, reporters, and attendees.

What if those women were Instagramming during the fair? "Ladies at the Fair: Women and the Omaha Expo of 1898" is an exhibition that playfully uses a "Retrogram" format to contextualize original images by Frank A. Rinehart, official photographer of the Exposition, employing both historical and contemporary voices to examine the female experience of the fair. Also featured are a variety of artifacts that women took away from the fair as visitors, organizers, or employees, including amateur photographs, postcards, souvenirs, and other Exposition memorabilia from the archives of Omaha Public Library and the collection of John Krecek.

This exhibition, curated by Victoria Hoyt, was inspired by "The Trans-Mississippi and International Expositions of 1898–1899: Art, Anthropology, and Popular Culture at the Fin de Siècle," edited by Wendy Jean Katz. The exhibition will be on display in the Michael Phipps Gallery at the W. Dale Clark Main Library through the month of March. 

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