There were many moments I had to slap my forehead when going through the Expos x Expos exhibit at Expo 2012. I’m very sad to report that there were many, MANY inaccuracies and missed opportunities with the exhibit. Going through my photos, I have several examples, but this one really saddened me.
In the 1904 Saint Louis section, this photo was shown to illustrate that the ice cream cone was invented (or introduced, depending on who you ask) at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. If you ask any historian of the 1904 World’s Fair, you’ll discover that no one’s really quite clear on HOW the ice cream cone was invented… and they aren’t really sure WHO did it. It’s the subject of much debate.
The photo is clearly not from 1904 and doesn’t match the style of design you would expect from the real 1904. To me, it looked more like that retro turn-of-the-century of 1920’s look that was popular in 1970’s chain restaurants.
A quick search online for “Original 1904 World’s Fair Ice Cream Emporium” brings up entries that show that it was a Missouri business that dissolved in 1981. I somehow imagine if there was a 77-year-old ice cream business in St. Louis, there wouldn’t be so much confusion about the origin of the ice cream cone.
I’m going to try to find out more about this business, but clearly the photo has absolutely no relation to the 1904 World’s Fair.
It’s just one example, sadly, of an exhibit that was created to fill space to show a timeline of world expos… without really wanting to import any real impressions or information.
My understanding is that the exhibit was created by a Chinese group and translated into Korean for Expo 2012. Sadly, the Expo 2010 World Expo Museum had many of these same mistakes.
The Modern Olympic games got an early boost by being a part of two world’s fairs. The second Olympic Games was held as part of the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris and the third was part of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
This exhibit at the Missouri History Museum displays items from 1904.