All the fun of the World’s Fairs

The Library currently has trial access to World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions. Through this unique resource you can explore the phenomenon of world’s fairs from the Crystal Palace in 1851 and the proliferation of North American exhibitions, to fairs around the world and twenty-first century expos.


Bringing together for the first time official records, monographs, personal accounts and ephemera, including publicity, artwork and artifacts, for more than 200 fairs this collection offers a fascinating insight into international expositions.

You can access the resource during the trial period via the e-resources trials page. Access is available on and off-campus.

Trial ends 6th April 2016.


Album of the Paris Exhibition 1889 [screenshot from World’s Fairs]

The unmissable opportunity that fairs promised encouraged innovators to push themselves and their ideas, and the debuts of products such as typewriters, x-ray machines and television are some of the best-known facts about fairs. Innovations in technology and infrastructure were developed for fairs on an unprecedented scale. Whole regions were regenerated in anticipation of the fairs and features that are now synonymous to their cities e.g. the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle, etc., were conceived, designed and constructed for world’s fairs.


General guide to the Crystal Palace and to its gardens and park 1879 [screenshot from World’s Fairs]

The collection is easily searchable and there are also various options that allow you to browse the site by the specific Fair or key exhibits, interactive site plans, images and sound recordings.

You can view the scanned image of the original documents but please note that during the trial PDF download options are not available.



Access via e-resources trials.
Access available until 6th April 2016.
Feedback welcome.

Access is only available to current students and staff at University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology