The Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo – And The Electric And Rainbow City

Here is the third installment in a series of posts on world’s fairs and world’s expositions that will run periodically on Insights. The first two posts in this series were features on, respectively, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations and World’s Columbian Exposition.

 “That century that has now begun may unite in the bonds of peace, knowledge, friendship, and noble emulation of all the dwellers on the continents and islands of the New World.”

Inscription, by American poet RICHARD WATSON GILDER, on the propylaea at the entrance of the Pan-American Exposition

Buffalo, today, enjoys a resurgence. It is revitalization overdue. There is a lot going on in the “Queen City of the Great Lakes.”

Then, again, for too long, broadly, in our land, Buffalo has been the subject of ridicule and unkind jest.

Buffalo is thought of across America as cold and economically depressed, and tied to that NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, which frequently does well, but never grabs the ring. Buffalo is something of a meteorological curiosity, with its preposterous inches of snowfall, and its images of towering snowbanks transmitted on TV.

Yet, of course, the story of Buffalo and its history is long and broad and anchored in the Industrial Revolution.  Buffalo was a central player in the growth and establishment of the United States as commercially and culturally relevant on a global scale.

Buffalo was a metropolis of extraordinary and highly visible wealth.

In the later stages of the Industrial Revolution, the city held – and still holds today – a great trove of art and design.

The city knew a long episode of manufacturing and commercial greatness and prominence.

As well, recognize that two citizens of the city became president of the United States: Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland.

And that Niagara Falls is, relatively, Buffalo’s next-door neighbor is not touted enough nor nearly as widely appreciated as it should be.

Buffalo’s establishment and rise, and fall, and stagnation, and comeback, is a parable of water and shipping and electricity.

Buffalo became a great city not long after 1825, the year that the Erie Canal – arguably the most significant and extraordinary construction project and engineering feat of the 19th Century – opened, and for the first time provided the nation with a continuous waterway, navigable by ships, between the Atlantic (via the upper Hudson River near Albany) and what was then Middle America.

The western-most port along the 400-mile canal is Buffalo.

Not only was the canal a commercial boon, it was also a busy conduit for migration west.  “Settling the west” owed much to the Erie Canal.

When, in the 1850s, the rich veins of iron ore – the raw material for steel production – in the Appalachians and Upper Midwest started to be mined enmass, Buffalo was in a strategically advantageous position. It was close to the ore, and it held a vital shipping location. Metropolitan Buffalo became a steel manufacturing center.

Buffalo also emerged as the number one grain port in the world.

With the Erie Canal, grain from the Midwest bound for the East Coast and Europe no longer had to be hauled long stretches over land and then transported on barges down the Mississippi, or other rivers, to New Orleans where the grain was transferred to ocean vessels.

Still, even when shipping grain over the Erie Canal, the process was highly time consuming, costly, and labor intensive – for it was a process in which grain-carrying lake boats, which were too big to continue east on the shallower and narrower stretch of the canal, arrived in Buffalo, and then needed to be manually unloaded and the cargo then manually loaded on to other ships.

Innovation transformed the operation when Joseph Dart, a Buffalo merchant, invented the first grain elevator, which mechanized the unloading, storage, and uploading of grain.

Soon a signature aspect of the Buffalo skyline were grain elevators. By 1863 the Buffalo waterfront had 27 grain elevators.

Buffalo’s proximity to Niagara Falls – which in 1886 first had its rushing volumes of water harnessed to generate electricity, and which had grown increasingly and rapidly as hydro-electric power source – enabled it to be the first American city to have street lights, as well as an urban pioneer in the expanse and prevalence of lighting and electric power.

Buffalo took on the nickname, “The City of Light.”

It was a city that held buildings designed by Henry Hobson Richardson — who, along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, are known today as the “Trinity of American Architects – and parks planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Father of American Landscape Architecture.

(Starting in 1902, several Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings and structures would be constructed in Buffalo.)

In the late 1800s, Buffalo claimed to have the most footage of paved streets on earth.

On the cusp of the 20th Century, Buffalo – particularly its civic and business leaders – felt confident and proud of the city.

To a particular and ambitious and well-heeled coterie of this group, it made sense for Buffalo to make a play for international prominence in developing and presenting a proposal to host a world’s fair

And, why not, this is what America had been doing. It was expected of her. Europe, the Old World, had led with global expositions in which it showed off its technology and culture and advanced civilization.

Actually, the advent of what would be called the “industrialization” world’s fairs was the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations  – aka “The Great Exhibition” – held London in 1851.

America jumped in to the competition and celebrations with the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations that New York City hosted in 1853.

Industrial world’s fairs that followed were, in order, the International of 1862, or Great London Exhibition; the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876; the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris; the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; and Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris.

On the cusp of the 20th Century, America continued to assert itself; it continued to grow and to invent and to develop and create and build.

Indeed, as the Buffalo powers-that-be convened, in America – especially in its industrial Northeast – it was the Gilded Age, an era that had commenced about 1870.

It was Mark Twain who assigned the age its moniker, with his 1873 novel, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.”

Mr. Twain knew an America, one he artfully described in the book, as one of great industrial progress, wealth building, majestic material consumption, and job opportunity for skilled workers – yet beneath that socio-economic gilding was broad-ranging racial and ethnic prejudice and injustices, and far-reaching and crushing poverty for millions of Americans.


Those Buffalo business and civic leaders planning to make a successful pitch for their city, knew that they would work with a general theme and mission of the exposition that had already been agreed upon an established – Pan Americanism.

Whatever city or region landed the fair would host the Pan-American Exposition.

A movement had been growing in the latter part of the 19th century to forge a more cooperative relationship among all nations in North America and South America.

In 1889, in Washington D.C., established was the Bureau of the Americas, a diplomatic organization, comprised of representatives from countries in the two continents.

Immediately after the Chicago world’s fair, the Bureau started planning a Pan-American exposition.

In 1897, the Pan-American Exposition Company was formed.

The Pan-American Exposition would celebrate the United States and its greatness, its growth, its technology, its advancing culture. It would also host the exhibits and presentations from republics throughout the Americas. An exposition of international cooperation and comity would be this event.

(As it would result, though, exposition organizers would be far more inviting and solicitous of nations to the south of the U.S., and they would be to Canada. It was a snub and lack of courtesy that was widely publicized among the population of the U.S.’s neighbor to the north.)

Actually the Pan-American Exposition was originally scheduled to be held at Niagara Falls – more precisely, at Cayuga Island, an island in the Niagara River and upstream from Niagara Falls. But when war broke out with Spain in April 1898 the fair was put on hold.

In July of 1898, while war with Spain was ongoing, U.S. Congress pledged $500,000 (about $14.5 million in 2016 dollars) to support operations of a Pan-American exposition.

When the conflict with Spain ended in American victory on August 12, fewer than four months after the commencement of the conflict, efforts started up again to plan and fund the fair.

With the Buffalo contingent, bolstered by strong local public support (including financial), making an effective case, the Queen City of the Great Lakes became a viable alternative to Niagara Falls.

Competition between Buffalo and Niagara Falls was intense.

Buffalo won out largely because of its direct links and connections to railroad lines which availed 40 million people the ability to reach the city within a day’s time.

In a booklet produced by the organizers of the exposition, it was explained that, “There are more people who live within a day’s journey of Buffalo, than of any other place in the Western Hemisphere.”

As well, Buffalo, with 350,000 residents, was the nation’s eighth largest city by population.

Grounds Layout for the Pan-American Exposition

Within Buffalo, chosen for the site for the fair, were 350 acres of Rumsey Farm, a primarily flat and barren piece of land that abutted the beautiful Delaware Park, which was designed by Olmsted.

The basics of the grounds layout plan of the Fair is described in this excerpt from the Pan-American Exposition section of the website Buffalo History Works:

The general plan of the grounds was that of an inverted “T” with the cross arm being the Esplanade extending east and west, and terminating at the Propylaea.  The Court of Fountains was in the center of the vertical stem and starting from its four corners was the beginning of the main group of large buildings.

Fair organizers understood that while their plans for exposition grounds could not extend into Olmsted’s Delaware Park – meaning no changes or modifications of the park could be made – what could be done is to extend into the expo grounds elements of Delaware Park’s pastures, its gentle rolls and curves of paths and walkways, its ponds, lack of strict edges and boundaries, and the delicate tie between nature and human imagination.

To achieve that extension of crafted nature, the fair designers made ample use of waterways and paths that were bordered with trees and shrubs and rustic gardens.

Buildings and Structures

“An artistic composition” is how John Carrère, Chairman of the Board of Architects of the Pan-American Exposition, described his vision of what the meeting of the fair’s landscape and buildings and structures would create.

The form and design of the buildings and structures represented a fundamental shift from the neoclassical style and chalky white color of the Columbian Exposition.

It was a new century, and the exposition was a celebration of America and its industry and culture, and also of the promise of a sunlit future.

Visitors to the Pan-American Exposition would tour not the White City and strict incorporation of classical antiquity of Chicago eight years prior – but a venue that was planned in a style that was Renaissance married to elements of Gothic – and which was expressed in many colors of many shades and hues, and which integrated and allowed for individual national character.

The Pan-American Exposition was more modern … and even ethnic … in look.

Almost all the buildings of the Pan-American Exposition were intended to be temporary. They were largely made of frames of iron and wood slats over which was spread a substance called staff – a mixture of plaster, gypsum, and hemp.

Although the structures were temporary, the materials and methods used to construct them allowed extensive opportunity for creativity in design and style.

Overseeing the development of colors and painting of the buildings was
C.Y. Turner, who had been Assistant Director of Decoration for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Mr. Turner’s title for the Pan-American Exposition was, most fittingly, Director of Color.

There was extensive and detailed practice and experimentation on painting a miniature model of the exposition to find the desired mix, blend, integration, and color tones.

Among the 90 structures and buildings constructed for the Pan-American Exposition, among the most prominent were the following:

  • The Triumphal Bridge (architect: John M. Carrére): Magnificent and grandiose in decoration, it spanned the Grand Canal. It also was the path from the Fore Court to the Esplanade.

As described at the “A Souvenir of the Pan American Exposition “ section of the website The Buffalo History Works, the Triumphal Bridge was a “splendid gateway” of “four gigantic piers, upon which mounted standard bearers hold aloft the national emblem, and about the bases are trophies of peace and war, and numerous other pieces of statuary, each expressing some phase of national greatness.”

  • The Electric Tower: Designed by John Galen Howard, the all-star edifice, of the Pan-American Exposition – a 395-foot beacon of electricity and light. At the pinnacle of the tower was a golden-colored figurine, The Goddess of Light, which was set up on a cupola.

At night, 44,000 bulbs illuminated the tower, and contained within the cupola was a powerful and roving searchlight that cast a powerful beam at a slightly downward angle. At the base of the Tower ran a waterfall into a basin that extended perpendicularly from the Tower, and in which were embedded cascades and fountains.

  • Electricity Building (architects: firm of Green & Wicks): Within this building was the transformer that converted incoming electricity from Niagara Falls into forms that could be used for lighting the fair, and other means.  As well, in the Electricity Building there was a telephone switchboard staffed with operators.
  • S. Government Buildings: There were three of these buildings. Across these three buildings were represented the departments of the War and Navy, Post Office, Agriculture, Treasury, and State Department
  • Machinery and Transportation Building: A showcase for recent invention and innovation, including in the areas of the manufacture of bicycles, automobiles, heavy machines, and steam engines. B. Green (a partner in Green & Wicks) designed this building.
  • Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building: Exhibited were the products that mills and factories manufactured. Food and food production exhibits were featured in this building.
  • Agriculture: At a time in America in which close to 40 % of the U.S. labor force was engaged in farming (compared to less than 1 % today) – and, with that percentage significantly higher in all other countries participating in the exposition, save Canada – in this building (designed by George Shepley) farmers viewed exhibits that displayed and explained labor-saving farm innovation and technology, and methods to improve growing of crops.
  • Ethnology Building: Housed exhibits on Native American history, and the lives of people from world regions that had remained undeveloped.  (Please see, further down, more discussion about the Ethnology Building in the section “On Matters of Race and a Changing Society.)
  • Horticulture: A big draw of this building were the variety of fruits and vegetables, available for tasting and sampling, from many of the countries participating in the Exposition. This building housed a large refrigerator plant.
  • The Mines Building: Exhibited in The Mines Building (architect: Robert Swain Peabody) were the tools and devices of mining and metallurgy
  • The Temple of Music: Within this building, designed by August Esenwein, was an auditorium that could seat 2,200. A central feature and utility in The Temple of Music was one of the biggest pipe organs that had, to that date, been built in the U.S.
  • New York State Building: George Cary designed this building, which was intended as the only permanent building of the exposition. Grecian-Temple in style, and made of white marble, today it is the home of the
    Buffalo Historical Society.
  • The Stadium: This stadium was modeled on the style, and was a scaled down version, of the venue in which were contested the original Olympiads in Ancient Greece.  Many different types of amateur and professional sport competitions were held in the expo stadium. Also held in the stadium – which was 680-feet long and 450-feet wide, and had a seating capacity of 12,000 – was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
  • The Art Building: Exhibited within were beautiful works of painting and sculpture.
  • State and Foreign Buildings: On display and presented within were the industries and cultures of states, a U.S. territory, and Pan-American countries. State buildings were Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio. There was also a New England building. Puerto Rico, a new (1898) U.S. territory had a building. Countries with buildings were Canada, Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico.

To access more comprehensive information on Pan-American Exposition buildings, please click here to be taken to a section of an area at the University of Buffalo website where is maintained an excellent and highly valuable database of research, commentary, articles, and scholarship on the exposition

Sculpture widely adorned and vastly populated the exposition, including 500 statues.

It was all beautiful and awesome – the buildings and the landscape … and the colors.

And it would be the bringing together and wedding of architecture and design and color – with monstrous voltages of efficiently flowing electricity, allowing for a galaxy and constellations of light – that resulted in a transcendent and historic aesthetic.

The Electric and Rainbow Cities

The Pan-American Exposition opened its doors on Wednesday, May 1, 1901. Admission cost for that day, as it would be on every other day but Sunday, was 50 cents ($7.00 in 2017 dollars). On Sundays, admission dropped to 25 cents.

Visitors entered a metropolis within a city.

It was a city described with an artful palette of colors across the exposition, and multiple colors and light and electricity forging powerful and engaging energy and optics which commanded and compelled that the Pan-American exposition would be nicknamed The Rainbow City.

Yet prior to The Rainbow City there was The Electric City – and the Electric City was Buffalo.

A precursor to The Rainbow City had to be The Electric City.


Power from the rush of water at Niagara Falls first started generating electricity some 16 years prior to the Pan-American Exposition. Yet it would not be until 1895, with the opening of the Edward Dean Adams Power Plant at the falls, that it became possible to harness this electricity on a grand scale and send it the 22 miles to Buffalo in a form that could be used to burn lights and move streetcars and power other operations.

That the electricity produced at Niagara Falls could, for the first time, travel to Buffalo was primarily owed to the mountainous genius of the Serbian scientist and engineer Nikola Tesla. For it was Tesla who developed the plans – plans on which the generators at the Adams Plant were based – to produce alternating current (AC) electricity, a form that allows for electricity to travel great distances and be modulated into different power voltages.

Alternating current and its use to power Rainbow City is a milestone in what is called the “Battle of Currents” or “War of Currents,” which pitted AC against Direct Current (DC), with Tesla the general for AC and Thomas Edison the standard bearer for DC.

The city of Buffalo, and the Pan American Exposition, were the earliest beneficiaries of the alternating current electricity that flowed from Niagara Falls.

Alternating current powered the lights – including almost a quarter-of-million eight-watt bulbs – and colors of the Pan-American Exposition.

And about those lights and those colors – they were employed to tell a visual and insensitive story of the transition and improvement of man from the uncivilized to the civilized.

On the outer edges of the exposition the buildings were lit with harsh reds and oranges, intended to express barbarism and savagery; traveling further and further into the fair the colors became quieter and more pale until one arrived at the Electric Tower – again, the signature edifice of the event – one whose primary luminescence was creamy white with blue and gold trim, the hue of modern civilization.

Light and color and electricity were, therefore, put to work to tell a story that was in parts racist and in parts xenophobic.

On Matters of Race and a Changing Society

In 2001, a Buffalo civic group, multiracial in makeup, ran a centennial commemoration of the Pan-American Exposition.  Given strong attention and openly discussed in the centennial event were the expressions and displays of racial stereotypes and insensitivity at the exposition.

Yes, for sure, this unhappy and negative aspect of the fair is mentioned and discussed in histories of Pan-American Exposition.  This aspect is also … frequently … not addressed.

The Pan-American Exposition was held 46 years after the end of the Civil War, the costliest in lives lost in the nation’s history.

It was held 11 years after the slaughter of 300 of the Lakota people at Wounded Knee, SD, and as skirmishes between Native Americans and the U.S. Army continued.

At the Pan-American Exposition, in the Exposition Building there were exhibits that played up and promoted the notion of people of different color, living in far off lands, being barbarians and savages.

There was The Old Plantation, a depiction of an antebellum cotton plantation in which blacks and whites lived in harmony with each other. In the African Village exhibit there was, as Exposition literature describes, a “collection of some 35 different African native tribes with their supremely ancient weapons, household gods and primitive handicraft.”

Depictions and treatments of Native Americans were insensitive.

Geronimo, the great Apache leader, was transported from his federal imprisonment in Oklahoma to the Pan-American Exposition where he was among the fair’s biggest draws.

Members of Native American tribes from the American Plains were brought in to participate in reenactments of battles against Union troops, with the Indians losing yet again.

Yet, as well, the Pan-American Exposition evidenced progress on matters of race.

An example of this progress is that, in a break from the practices of world’s fairs that had preceded it … and many that would follow … the Pan-American Exposition gave a platform and forum for Latin American countries to hold their own events and to produce their own exhibits.

Innovation on Display and on Exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition

The use of electricity at the Pan-American Exposition was central and fundamental to the success of the fair, and was its ongoing most impressive exhibit of invention and innovation.

The University of Buffalo maintains an excellent online database of research, commentary, articles, and scholarship on the Pan-American Exposition.

Following is an excerpt from an article, archived at the University of Buffalo database, titled, “How to See the Pan-American Exposition,” by Mary Bronson Hartt, in which is described the omniscience and prominence of electricity at the fair:

This is an electric exposition; the electrical exhibits cannot be contained in a single building; they are everywhere. Niagara power drives the trolley which carries you to the grounds; turns the wheels of the countless machines in Machinery Hall; whirls the electric fans which cool the theatres in the Midway; illuminates the cycloramas and other electrical effects and illusions; makes possible the powerful search-light on the Electric Tower which sends signals to Toronto ; glows in the blended colors of the Electric Fountain, and blossoms in a whole firmament of electric stars which make up the glory of the Pan-American illumination. All this makes of supreme interest a modest little working-model of the Niagara Power House, near the western end of the Electricity Building. A portion of the outer wall is removed to allow you to see the wheel-pit and penstocks, and the turbines spinning in the rush of water, revolving the humming dynamos in the power-house above.

Please click here to read the full article, published in the October 1901 issue of Everybody’s Magazine.

Other newly developed technologies on display were the portable x-ray machine; the electrograph, which was a device that transmitted pictures over a wire; a voting machine; a typesetting machine; improved phonograph; and infant incubators, with real infants inside.

Indeed, and we make mention of it again, that the great world’s fairs and industrial expositions were kin and ancestors of the tradeshows and exhibitions of today.

These expositions were prominent and high-profile, and effective, methods and venues for companies, countries, and states to tell the stories and advertise and brag about their achievements.

And, for sure, the Pan-American Exposition was an extravaganza worthy of much  storytelling, advertising, and bragging.  It was an event fully worthy of the moniker of world’s fair.

Yet the Pan-American Exposition and its remembrance in posterity, would be one cloaked in darkness and tragedy.

For it was on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition that the president of the United States was murdered.

Assassination of the President

On September 5, President William McKinley, immensely popular and in his second term as chief executive of the republic, began a scheduled two-day four of the fair.  A crowd of 116,000 attended a day-time speech he delivered in the big open-air stadium

President McKinley’s speech included these words:

Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world’s advancements. They stimulate the energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people,  and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten  the daily life of the people.

That night there was a massive fireworks display in his honor, which culminated with the pyrotechnics spelling out, ““Welcome President McKinley, Chief of our Nation and Our Empire.”

After the fireworks, the president and First Lady, Ida McKinley, were taken to Milburn House, the stately and expansive home of Pan-American Exposition president John G. Milburn, where they would spend the evening.

The next afternoon, the president made an appearance – a meet-and-greet – at the Temple of Music.

Among those standing in the receiving line, and moving closer to the president, was Leon Czologosz, a 28-year old mentally unstable man who was driven and consumed with the belief that government was to blame for injustice and socio-economic inequality. Mr. Czologosz identified the president as the leader of a great system of oppression.

Leon Czogolosz had traveled from his home in Ohio to Buffalo with the intent of assassinating President McKinley.

As he neared the president, Leon Czologosz had concealed beneath a handkerchief in his right hand a .32 caliber revolver. The handkerchief appeared as a bandage over a wound.

When Mr. Czogolosz made it to the front of the line, a little after 4 p.m., the president reached to shake his hand. Mr. Czogolosz slapped the hand away, and pointed the gun at the president’s midsection, and fired twice. One bullet deflected off the President McKinley’s rib cage and did no damage. The other bullet tore through the president’s stomach, kidney, and pancreas, before settling in his back.

Doctors immediately attended, on site, to the president. A tragic irony ensued in that on the property of a world’s fair which touted and celebrated the wonders and modernity of electricity, those physicians who first treated the president did so without the assistance of electric light, for the Temple of Music was not wired for electricity.

Almost as soon as the president was shot, a telegraph message was sent to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, to the renowned surgeon, Dr. Roswell Park, chair of the University of Buffalo Medical School’s Department of Surgery.  Dr. Park was in the middle of a surgery.  On hearing that President McKinley had been shot, Dr. Park finished the operation and jumped on a train that took him back to the exposition.

Word was also dispatched to Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, who was vacationing in Vermont.  The vice president immediately set out for Buffalo.

President McKinley was transferred to the exposition hospital. After an evaluation – conducted without electric light – it was determined that surgery could not wait until Dr. Park arrived; it had to be done immediately.  Chosen to perform the operation was Dr. Matthew Mann, a gynecologist and obstetrician.

Approximately an hour to the minute after the president was shot, Dr. Mann began the surgery, with the benefit of the illumination of a rigged up electric bulb.

In an attempt to locate the bullet, fairly invasive was the investigation of the 58-year-old president’s abdominal cavity.  During the surgery, an aide to the president sent out a request to have the x-ray machine at the fair brought to the expo hospital.  The machine was not sent, however, as the medical team assessed that using the machine might cause undue stress on the president, and that the x-ray may not prove of much value even if taken.  Dr. Mann, not able to find the bullet, cleaned the wound and sewed up the incision with black thread.

In early evening, President McKinley, awake, was transferred in an electric ambulance to Fuller House.

Over the next few days, the president seemed to rally.  He was awake and conversational.  Doctors were optimistic – so much so that on September 9, Vice President Roosevelt left for the Adirondacks to continue his vacation.

Yet the president did not continue to rally; he became sicker and started to fade.  Gangrene, a bacterial infection, grew along the path of the bullet and poisoned the president’s blood.  By the morning of September 13, it had become obvious that the president would not survive his wound.  Vice President Roosevelt was summoned from the Adirondacks.  President McKinley recognized that he was dying, and said to those at his bedside, “It is useless, gentleman.  I think we ought to have a prayer.”

At 2:15 in the morning on September 14 President McKinley died.

While still in the Adirondacks, Mr. Roosevelt was informed of the death of President McKinley.  The vice president took a train to Buffalo and was sworn in as the 26th president of the United States.  In that he took the oath of office at 42 years old, Theodore Roosevelt became (and remains) the youngest president in U.S. history.


Within about year and half following the closing of the Pan-American Exposition, the buildings and edifices of the fair had been almost totally demolished.

An effort to raise sufficient money to preserve the Electric Tower was unsuccessful; however, the design of the structure served as a prototype for the Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo, which opened in 1912.

When the exposition concluded, the New York State Building became the headquarters of the Buffalo Historical Society (renamed the Buffalo History Museum).  In the 1987 the home of the Buffalo History Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Today the property on which the Pan-American Exposition was held is a mix of residences and small businesses.


 It cannot be ignored that the legacy of the Pan-American Exposition – a world’s fair that was exceptional, grand, magnificent, and awe-inspiring in so many ways – is tarnished by the assassination of President William McKinley.

Yet it is only proper that the great achievements … and they are great … of the Pan-American Exposition, and the contributions of the City of Buffalo to those achievements … be remembered and celebrated and chronicled.

And is fitting, and it is a major public service, that so much scholarship and civic effort and resources are committed to remembering and documenting and telling the story of the Pan-American Exposition.

This memory, this history, this knowledge, is a catalyst and serves as emotional energy and inspiration for Buffalo, and all of Metropolitan Buffalo, as this urban area continues its resurgence.

 Recommended for further reading, The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City:  Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World’s Fair (2016, W.W. Norton & Company) by Margaret Creighton, and the website “Doing the Pan … “. 






How Cool Is This? Employing Neuroscience to Make Exhibits More Engaging, More Eye-catching

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we are celebrating our 30th year in business.

A primary reason for our success is our commitment to innovating and inventing, which includes placing a strong emphasis on smarter and more effective ways to use technology to provide our clients with value and competitive advantage.

Willwork and its team even considers itself a bit techie/nerdy/wonkish.

Nick Cave Soundsuits

Nick Cave Soundsuits in the Seamans Gallery at Peabody Essex Museum (photograph by Kathy Tarantola, courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum)

Indeed, here on this blog we are inclined to discuss technology as it relates to exhibits and events and tradeshows.

You know, then, it would have had to capture our attention when we saw making news that the world famous Peabody Essex Museum (P.E.M.) in Salem, MA has, as described in a May 7 Boston Globe story, taken “what is being hailed as an unprecedented step in the museum world: hiring a neuroscientist to help apply the tenets of modern brain science to enhance the museum-going experience.”

Indeed, Willwork – beyond the exhibit halls and convention centers – works in some of the nation’s most respected and renowned museums and cultural institutions.

Our skilled trades personnel are entrusted with the care and handling of  precious artifacts and priceless historical items.

So, yeah, what is going on at P.E.M. has Willwork interested.

The neuroscientist whom the Peabody Essex Museum hired is Dr. Vidette “Tedi” AsherDr. Asher earned a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College and a PhD in neurobiology/Biology and Medical Sciences from Harvard Medical School.

Here is another excerpt from the Boston Globe article:

Asher’s initial one-year appointment is part of a broader strategy at the Peabody Essex, which over the next five years will completely redesign its galleries, incorporating neuroscience to devise multisensory exhibitions, unexpected gallery spaces, stories, and interactive features to heighten audience engagement.

As part of the neuroscience initiative, which is funded by a $130,000 grant from the Barr Foundation, Asher will meet periodically with an advisory group of brain scientists and work closely with museum staff as they plan exhibitions. She will also write a publication that summarizes the museum’s findings and serves as a guide for future programming.

Please click here to be taken to the full story, “Peabody Essex Museum hires neuroscientist to enhance visitor experience,” by Malcolm Gay.

Newsweek reported on the pioneering hire in a May 17 story, “Art and the Brain: Museum Near Boston Hires Neuroscientist to Transform Visitors’ Experience,” by Stav Ziv.

Actually, even prior to the P.E.M. hire of Tedi Asher, making big news was that the museum had won the $130,000 Boston-based Barr Foundation grant.

P.E.M. winning of the grant was featured in a March 17 New York Times story, “How to Get the Brain to Like Art,” by Jess Bidgood.

Of course, in that an event or development gets hyped in the press and receives popular attention does not necessarily mean that that event, that development, is a positive for society or education or culture, or that it is important to business and commerce.

But, most certainly, the neuroscience and neuroscientist at the Peabody Essex Museum is important, revolutionary, truly next generation – and will improve how exhibits and exhibitions educate and enrich and entertain the mind and senses.

Willwork will surely stay tuned.

Expect more on this blog about the Peabody Essex Museum neuroscience project – and on how science is integrated into and enlisted in the way that images and art are shown, products are displayed, stories are told, and brands are established and strengthened.

Heading Into Memorial Day Weekend, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit& Event Services Reflects on Epic and Miracle Logistics … and on Sacrifice … That Launched a Nation

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

A major component of our business is logistics.  Logistics is thought of, commonly, and broadly, as the shipping of materials.  But the exercise and process of logistics is far more entailed.

Helpful background on – and a definition of – logistics is found in the following excerpt, which is also the first two paragraphs, of an Encyclopaedia Britannica  entry on logistics:

“Logistics, in business, is the organized movement of materials and, sometimes, people. The term was first associated with the military but gradually spread to cover business activities.”

Logistics implies that a number of separate activities are coordinated. In 1991 the Council of Logistics Management, a trade organization based in the United States, defined logistics as: ‘the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.’ The last few words limit the definition to business enterprises. Logistics also can be thought of as transportation after taking into account all the related activities that are considered in making decisions about moving materials.”

Please click here to be taken to the full Encyclopaedia Britannica entry, written by Donald F. Wood, Professor of Transportation, San Francisco State University.

Willwork has achieved renown for its success and efficiency in handling major and complex logistics challenges.

We are able to get the job done and pull off logistics feats because of our skilled, caring, and well trained employees; having a strong and dependable and extensive network of service partners; our large and modern facilities and best-in-class and well maintained equipment; and carefully and strategically planned systems and processes that are flexible and adjustable.

For Memorial Day, Willwork felt it fitting and proper to discuss here in this space an extraordinary and epic logistics mission.   It was a mission that supported a heroic military operation – an operation that was instrumental in the birth of our republic.

It was a mission that involved and was carried out over land that included what is now the neighborhood in which the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center sits.

We have to go back a ways for this story – back to maybe the most consequential year in our nation’s history:  1776.

It was the year following – on the morning of April 18, 1775 – when British soldiers and local militia skirmished at Lexington (five miles to the west of Boston) and then at North Bridge in Concord (11 miles to the west of Boston) where the militia routed the British.

It was the year following the day after the Lexington and Concord battles when colonial militiamen cut off all access to British-held Boston.

It was the year following the British winning back from the militia – in the Battle of Bunker Hill, on June 17, 1775 – a strategic area in Charlestown, a town separated from Boston by a channel of Boston Harbor.  The British lost so many lives and shed so much blood in the battle that its leadership understood that they could not endure more such victories.

In the late fall of 1775, on the cusp of 1776, the future of the rebellion – of a nation – was in flux and in desperation.  Flux and desperation centered on Boston.

The colonial militia – now called the Continental Army – surrounded the British … and yet the hold was precarious.

Ten thousand British troops occupied Royal Navy ships which held Boston Harbor, and whose cannons could send shot into Continental Army garrisons.

The British could land troops from the harbor.

Continental Army General George Washington, on the ground in Boston, recognized the problems … and saw opportunity.

One way to discourage and prevent a British attack from the harbor, as Washington considered, was to occupy Dorchester Heights (in present day South Boston), an area that afforded an overlook of Boston Harbor, and the peninsula of Boston itself, which was populated with British troops and citizens loyal to England.

The English coveted Dorchester Heights as well.

General Washington, whose command base was a house in the city of Cambridge, which bordered Boston, knew that his troops might be able to take Dorchester Heights, but because they lacked sufficient armaments and firepower, they could not hold it.

But the armaments, the firepower, were not available.

Or were they?

Henry Knox, a Boston bookseller turned Continental Army officer, had an idea.  A crazy idea.  An idea that had no chance of being realized.

Of such craziness is the stuff that changes the world.

Knox knew that the previous May, American forces – the Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold – had captured cannons when they overcame the British garrisons of Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown Point nearby in upstate New York, alongside Lake Champlain.

Knox asked General Washington if the general would let him lead an expedition – with winter approaching – that would travel 300 miles to Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown, and … somehow … transport cannons back to Boston and to Dorchester Heights.

General Washington listened.  He commissioned Henry Knox a colonel, appointed him the head of an artillery unit, and said go for it.

Henry Knox and his team arrived at Fort Ticonderoga in mid-December.

Now how to transport 59 cannons (30 from Fort Ticonderoga and 29 from Fort Crown) – 60 tons worth – across mountainous and snow and ice-packed terrain.

Colonel Knox commandeered sleds pulled by oxen.

As the team of oxen made its way along the trail to Boston – today the Henry Knox Trail – Colonel Knox had to work as a hiring agent as he traveled across sparsely populated territory … hiring men for temporary stints to help in the transport.

More than once, while crossing frozen rivers, ice broke and a cannon went into the water.  But every cannon was retrieved.

In early January, the caravan made its way south from Lake Champlain, and across the Adirondacks, down to Albany.  Colonel Knox led and guided the shipment into Massachusetts and across the Berkshires.

In late January, Colonel Knox and the cannon arrived in Cambridge.

General Washington first directed some of the cannons to be placed in Cambridge, and in Roxbury, which bordered Boston.

He then strategized how to get to the cannons up to Dorchester Heights, and to fortify the Heights, without the British detecting the move.

General Washington employed diversion to accomplish the task.

On the evenings March 2 and March 3, he had the cannon batteries in Cambridge and Roxbury open fire.  British troops returned fire. No significant casualties resulted.  The noise and commotion, though, provided cover for American troops to prep for a lightning taking and fortifying Dorchester Heights.

On March 4, evening, the American cannons again fired.  Accompanying the cannon shooting was the movement of 2000 Continental Army soldiers, under the direct command of General John Thomas, moving up to Dorchester Heights with entrenching tools, cannon placements, and cannon.

Troops placed bales of hay between their work and the harbor so to muffle the sound of the activity and prevent those on the British warships from being alerted.

Following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia entry on the fortification of Dorchester Heights:

“General Washington was present to provide moral support and encouragement …. By 4 a.m., they had constructed fortifications that were proof against small arms and grapeshot. Work continued on the positions, with troops cutting down trees and constructing abbatis to impede any British assault on the works.  The outside of the works also included rock-filled barrels that could be rolled down the hill at attacking troops.”

When dawn broke on March 5, Dorchester Heights was armed and fortified.

British General William Howe, marveling, and no doubt distraught, with his opponent’s miracle execution of logistics, commented, “The rebels have done more in one night than my whole army would have done in a month.”

The work of the rebels left the British at a major disadvantage.  American control of Dorchester Heights afforded an excellent position for General Washington’s soldiers to rain hellfire upon the British in Boston, and on the Royal Navy if it sought to land troops close to the Heights — which it would have to do if it sought to bring the troops ashore because the Continental Army occupied most of the surrounding coastline.

General Howe considered an assault on Dorchester Heights, but understood such an operation would be like Bunker Hill, only worse.

General Howe and his command made the decision to evacuate British troops and Loyalists from Boston — which was done on March 17, 1776.

Much hardship, and monstrous suffering and sacrifice lay ahead for the Continental Army, and colonial patriots, before liberty was fully won.

Yet, for sure, the logistics-feats-for-the-ages that the Americans pulled off during the winter of 1776 enabled a nascent and still-fragile revolt to live; it gave great hope to and inspired patriots; and it was the marrow and stuff of the launch of a nation.

Santa Claus Knows Shipping and Logistics

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a Fan

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, launched in 1987, is national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In our day-to-day business we are involved with matters of shipping and logistics – with many of these matters highly complex and far-reaching in scope.

Willwork is fortunate to have an in-house team of professionals, and several business partners, who successfully, expeditiously, and effectively handle all the shipping and logistics demands and challenges we face.

We must confess, though, that there is an enterprise which annually pulls off a global shipping and logistics feat that is far more impressive than anything Willwork could ever hope to accomplish. It is simply mind-boggling.

It humbles us – and Willwork holds in awe what this outfit achieves.

We are talking of the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning worldwide transport that Santa Claus and his elves and his reindeer successfully coordinate and carry out and complete.

And we are not even going to touch the awe-inspiring building and production of presents that the elves run and orchestrate. Willwork can talk about, in this space, the manufacturing magic of the elves at a later date.

We thought it would be of interest to visitors to this site to highlight and point to research and thoughts that other companies and organizations and people have published and shared online about the Santa delivery miracle.

Go Supply Chain Consulting Ltd., a logistics and supply chain management and consulting firm based in the UK, published a fascinating infographic (which we have attached here with Go Supply Chain Consulting’s permission) on shipping specs and numbers that its logistics consultants figured and compiled on Santa’s around-the-world expedition.

For example, as the consultants determined, if the average present that Santa delivers is 50 centimeters long and 30 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters deep, laying those presents end to end would create a chain of presents that would stretch around the equator 24 times. Wow.

Back in 2010, on Christmas Day, Ireland’s National Public Service Broadcaster aired a report that provided scientific explanations – including those involving nanotechnology and parallel universes – as to how Santa Claus and Dasher, Dancer, Prancer … and, well, the other reindeer … make happen the seemingly impossible.

If you click here you will be taken to a video clip of the broadcast.

Among the world’s most successful companies, one for which Willwork has provided services, is Oracle Corporation.

Oracle makes a vast variety of software applications, databases, servers, and cloud and storage technologies that help organizations operate more successfully – including in the areas of shipping and logistics.

Oracle has weighed in on Santa Claus and his team and its all-star and hall-of-fame shipping and logistics.

During the holiday season in 2014, on December 16, Oracle published on its website an article by Julie Vagdati, that introduces a video, “Ever Wonder How Santa Claus Runs His Supply Chain?” – with shipping and logistics all an integral component of supply chain.

Together, the article and the video, are a lot of fun and instructive, and serve the purpose of marketing and telling the story of Oracle logistics and supply chain solutions.

Following is an excerpt of narration from the video:

“This is a story of a guy who has mail supply chain in the cloud. He is more than 1000 years old yet he develops products fast, plans effectively, executes rapidly. All in the cloud … One of his secrets is he connects across his supply chain with mobility and social media and empowers his little helpers through visibility and big data analytics.”

Please click here to be taken to the page where you can find the story and the video.

The Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech thought up and put in play a different take on Santa Claus and shipping and logistics. You see, the institute sent packages to Santa.

Yes, it did. A little background: every year since 2003, the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech has conducted the “Great International Package Race,” a competition that pits FedEX, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service against each other to see which company delivers packages the fastest to various points around the globe.

In 2013, for the first time, the competition was held during the holiday season, the busiest time of the year for shipping. And it was in 2013 that the institute decided to include on its list of destinations – Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland.

It is more than a coincidence that Dr. John Bartholdi, a professor in the in the Master’s in Supply Chain Engineering Program at Georgia Tech, who also thought up the Great International Package Race, looks as if he could be Santa Claus’s brother. There’s a resemblance, for sure.

To pull up a short video in which Dr. Bartholdi explains and provides insight into the Santa Claus Delivery Logistics project, please click here.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services understands the importance of, across many industry and other sectors of society, efficiency and excellence in shipping and logistics.

Those companies and other forms of teams that achieve this efficiency and excellence on a large scale deliver corresponding value – and command particular admiration.

And Willwork submits that no team delivers more value – and more smiles and happiness – through its shipping and logistics operations than does the team of Santa Claus and those elves and those reindeer.

Willwork wishes all Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

The World’s Columbian Exposition – Aka the Chicago World’s Fair, the Chicago Columbian Exposition, and the White City

 Here is the second installment in a series of posts on world’s fairs and world’s expositions that will run periodically on Insights. The first installment, published here on October 4, featured the Great Exhibition of the Works of All Nations, or The Great Exhibition, which took place in London in 1851.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

We operate offices in major cities across the country, and work in those cities, and other metropolises, as well as towns, villages, and hamlets – anywhere premium exhibition services and event project management are needed.

As we have described and presented in this space, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services – by virtue of the business we are in, and the skills, talents, and focus of our people – admires and is a fan of beautiful and ingenious architecture and design.

We are enthusiasts of the exceptional in building and space planning.

Indeed, and of this we are ever mindful, the place called North Easton Village – contained within the incorporated town of Easton, MA, the community in metropolitan Boston where Willwork’s headquarters are located – holds a trove of architecture and design that rivals any place of comparable geographic size in America.

Please click here to be taken to a Willwork Insights post, published on June 12, 2014, which discusses the works, found in North Easton Village, of Gilded Age luminaries Henry Hobson (H.H.) Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted – aka F.L. Olmsted and F.L.O., Augustus Saint-GaudensStanford White, and John La Farge.

Not mentioned in that post is a beautiful plate of decorative glass designed by another iconic Gilded Age artisan, the painter and glassmaker, Louis Comfort Tiffany. This glass is set above a sandstone fireplace designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that is within the Ames Gate Lodge, one of the H.H. Richardson buildings in North Easton Village.

In mid-December of last year, Willwork held its year-end management meeting in North Easton Village, in a grand stone cottage called Queset House, built in 1854 from a design that was provided by Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), a pioneer in American landscape architecture and an author, botanist, and building architect.

Mr. Downing greatly influenced Frederick Law Olmsted, widely hailed as “The Father of American Landscape Architecture,” and a planner of the Queset House grounds.

From Queset House one can see Ames Free Library and Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, both designed by H.H. Richardson with landscapes designed by F.L.O.

As an exhibition services and event project management company – and one that is a fan and enthusiast of architecture, design, and building and space planning – it is wholly appropriate and fitting we discuss and talk about exhibitions and expositions.

In this post, we take a look at a magnificent and extraordinary exposition, one with which Willwork shares a cosmic and cultural connection.

We are talking about an exposition for the ages, one that was realized through an epic marriage and cooperation of money, politics, industry, brilliant architects and designers and artisans, detailed and precise and excellent planning and logistics, legions of skilled laborers and tradespeople – and the ambition and ascendance of a republic.

We refer to the World’s Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair in held in Chicago in 1893.

Actually, World’s Columbian Exposition was the short-form of the official name for the event: World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition.

Other names by which the exposition is known are The Chicago World’s Fair, Chicago Columbian Exposition and, for reasons explained and expounded on further down … The White City.

The Chicago World’s Fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus, and Europe, discovering the New World.

Dedication of exposition took place on October 21, 1892, but the fairgrounds did not open to the public until May 1, 1893, and would run until October 30 of that year.

Other world’s fairs had been held in the U.S. prior to the World’s Columbian Exposition, but the event and production in Chicago in 1893 was much larger and much more involved in scope than those which had preceded it.

It was a transcendent episode in American history.

Over its six-month run, the Chicago World’s Fair registered 27 million visits.

It was a world’s fair that was fully representative of, and which fully exemplified, the Gilded Age – an era which ran from approximately from 1870 through 1900, and was one of dramatic and tremendous industrial and financial growth and wealth building in America.

It was an age, this Gilded Age, during which America expanded global reach and influence.

The World’s Columbian Exposition was worthy of and capably responded to a nation whose cities were growing rapidly and explosively in population, development, and commerce; one in which growing fast and powerfully were the number of people who had the means to enjoy entertainment and amusements; and one that was establishing its own forms and styles of art, architecture, design, and decoration.

A fitting event and spectacle for the Gilded Age and America was the World Columbian Exposition of 1893.

As well, the World’s Columbian Exposition testified to all that, 22 years after the Great Chicago Fire, the city was rebuilt and healthy and rehabilitated.

Covering almost 700 acres, and including 200 buildings, the exposition’s exhibits showcased emerging technology, anthropology, art, culture, zoology, horticulture, religion, guns and artillery … and more.

Exhibitors participated from 60 countries.

Modern urban planning was ushered in with the program and system that brought about the world’s Fair.


During the 1880s, Chicago had been in competition with New York City, St. Louis, and Washington D.C., to host the Columbian Exposition.

When the host city was named, in 1890, the Chicago board organizing the fair chose, for the designing of the event’s buildings and facades, the team of John Wellborn Root and Daniel Burnham, famous building architects and partners in the Chicago firm, Burnham and Root.

Messrs. Root and Burnham resolved that the style of the structures of exposition would be French neoclassical – and would include buildings of extraordinary size and majesty.

In 1891, when Mr. Root, 41, died from pneumonia, Mr. Burnham became Director of Works for the fair.

Daniel Burnham may have found himself in over his head, but he quickly took charge, and did so effectively and brilliantly.

To be the creative and project general for the planning of the grounds of the exposition, the organizing board chose landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, already iconic and the biggest name in landscape architecture in America.

Mr. Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, the lead architects for the exposition, worked together.

In planning the landscape of the fair, Mr. Olmsted had two primary lieutenants: Harry Codman, an architect in the firm that Mr. Olmsted founded in Brookline, MA, which was the first full-time landscape architectural firm in the U.S.; and Calvert Vaux, an Englishman with whom Olmsted had already famously collaborated on projects, the best known of which and a signature for U.S. urban parkland design: Central Park in New York City.

Now, for that cosmic and cultural connection Willwork feels with the World’s Columbian Exposition – it is staked to the business of expositions and the expanse of F.L.O.- designed property near our corporate offices.

There are other connections, but let’s stay here with Frederick Law Olmsted.

At the time he took on the Columbian Exposition project, Mr. Olmsted’s resume of high-profile landscape design achievement included, in addition to Central Park, the Emerald Necklace in Boston, the campus of Stanford University, portions of the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, and George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

As well, on F.L.O’s resume was extensive work in North Easton: The Memorial Cairn, a Civil War memorial known popularly as The Rockery; the grounds of Ames Free Library and neighboring Queset House; and the landscapes of three Ames family estates: Governor Oliver Ames EstateLangwater, and Sheep Pasture.

For the grounds for the exposition, Mr. Olmsted selected an area of land called Jackson Park, formerly called South Park, which had been renamed in 1881 for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States. F.L.O. was well acquainted with the park, for he and Calvert Vaux designed it some 20 years before.

While under the direction of Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Vaux, areas of Jackson Park had been cultivated and represented a beautiful harmony between nature and man’s design, there was still large areas of swamp, not the easiest grounds with which to contend.

What Olmsted planned for the swamp, and which would be realized, and which would work in visual and functional tandem with adjacent Lake Michigan, was a seascape with a grand central basin, and smaller pools, and also canals. Raised above these waterways would be terraces.

Frederick Law Olmsted, who had already made history, continued to do with with World’s Columbian Exposition.

“Not nearly and widely appreciated is the work that Frederick Law Olmsted did in Chicago – it is a best kept secret,” said Julia Bachrach, Planning Supervisor with the Chicago Park District, in a recent phone conversation with Willwork. “Large areas of parkland that Olmsted designed, and which were constructed in Chicago, were successful tests and important developments in the public park movement in America – and remain beautiful places for recreation and for social and education programs.”

Frederick Law Olmsted, Daniel Burnham, Harry Codman, Calvet Vaux were giant talents in a vast team of giant talent. And the designation “team” is apt, for these creative minds worked cooperatively and in unison.

Three of those minds created and developed artistic treasures in North Easton Village.

There was Augustus Saint-Gaudens, named Creative Director for the fair. His creative direction included designing the official exposition medal.

Louis Comfort Tiffany designed a chapel, breathtaking in beauty, that was on display within the exhibit of Tiffany & Co., the jewelry firm founded by his father Charles Lewis Tiffany. Designed and crafted in Byzantine style, the chapel was held in awe by expo attendees, with its intricate constitution of multicolored reflective glass, ornately carved pillars and arches, a baptismal font, and electric chandelier.

Mr. Tiffany, already well known for his work, would see his star rise fast and higher as a direct result of his chapel at the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Stanford White, and his business partners, Charles McKim and William Mead, designed the Agricultural Building, one of the main buildings of the fair.

Looking west – Court of Honor and Grand Basin, World's Columbian Exposition; in foreground, The Republic statue; at other end of basin is The Administration Building

Looking west – Court of Honor and Grand Basin, World’s Columbian Exposition; in foreground, The Republic statue; at other end of basin is The Administration Building

The central concourse of the exposition was the Court of Honor, unto itself a mini and majestic metropolis formed of Olmsted’s basin – called the Grand Basin – flanked by neoclassical buildings all painted with a white chalky plaster, and at night bathed in incandescent electric light.

A White City.

That incandescent electric light, that electricity, that illuminated the White City, resulted from a battle of iconic and giant American companies and technologies: General Electric (recently formed with the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson Houston-Electric), and its direct current, versus Westinghouse Electric, and its alternating current.

Westinghouse’s bid to power the Chicago World’s Fair proposed 93,000 incandescent lamps was 70 cents per lamp lower than what Edison bid.

Westinghouse won the business, but its bid was so low that throughout the run of the exposition it was running in place (and bleeding money) to replace and maintain bulbs and other equipment.

At one end of the Court of Honor was the 65-foot high plaster statue, The Republic, created by Daniel Chester French, the man whose long career included designing, for the 1875 centennial commemoration of the Battle of Concord, the Minute Man statue at the North Bridge in Concord, MA; and, from 1915 through 1919 designing and overseeing the sculpting of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

On the other end of the Court of Honor was the domed Administration Building, the plans for which were developed by Richard Morris Hunt, who, at the time of the planning the exposition was arguably the most prominent and accomplished architect on the Columbian Exposition design team.

Other structural architects who designed buildings for the fair were some of the most eminent of the period, and remain so in posterity: Dankmar AdlerCharles B. AtwoodHenry Ives CobbSolon Spencer BemanSophia Hayden BennettWilliam MundieRobert Swain PeabodyGeorge P. PostLouis Sullivan, and Henry Van Brunt.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in talking with Daniel Burnham, put in perspective the assembly of talent planning and designing the exposition, when he compared it to the group that planned and created the buildings, paintings, and sculptures of Florence during the Renaissance.

Mr. Saint-Gaudens said to Mr. Burnham, “Look here, old fellow, do you realize that this is the greatest meeting of artists since the 15th century?”

So much, so many aspects, of the World’s Columbian Exposition were awesome concepts rendered on awesome scale.

Willwork Inc. Exhibit & Event Specialists enthusiastically salutes an epic achievement.

Consider just one aspect of logistics. Exhibits shipped in to the exposition came in the form of almost 163,000 packages, which were transported using almost 8,000 vehicles.

There was entertainment, and also carnival rides, among them the original Ferris Wheel, designed and engineered by George Washington Ferris Gate Jr. It was a giant wheel – 264 feet high, with 36 cars, each which could hold 40 people.

It was a big tradeshow, the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Innovation and invention were on display at the fair.

Consider that all amusements, with the towering Ferris Wheel the anchor, were located on the one-mile long Midway Plaisance section of the exposition. This layout marked the first time that a world’s fair had separate areas for exhibits and amusements.

Also for the first time, a world’s fair would have national pavilions. Forty-six countries operated pavilions in which, among other uses, were forums in which to make trade and tourism pitches.

Following is an excerpt from a article, by Barbara Maranzani, titled, “7 Things You May Not Know About the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair”:

Among the well-loved commercial products that made their debut at the Chicago World’s Fair were Cream of Wheat, Juicy Fruit gum and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Technological products that would soon find their way into homes nationwide, such as the dishwasher and fluorescent light bulbs, had early prototype versions on display in Chicago as well.

Please click here to be taken to the full article, which was published on March 1, 2013.

The first public moving walkway – called the Great Wharf or Moving Sidewalk – ran on electricity and in a loop along the bank of Lake Michigan. People could either walk or sit as they transported.


In 2004, the name White City, and the Chicago World’s Fair, would be popularly reintroduced to America when Erik Larson’s book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, was published. It became a #1 bestseller.

H.H. Holmes –

H.H. Holmes – “The Devil in the White City”

The Devil in the White City tells the story of the exposition, its two primary architects, Burnham and Olmsted, and Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who lived in Chicago, and who was particularly busy in his gruesome enterprise during the fair – with the fair providing for him cover … and victims.

The man who would become H.H. Holmes was born Herman Webster Mudgett in Vermont in 1861.  Mr. Mudgett would graduate from the University of Michigan’s Department of Medicine and Surgery in 1884.

It was in 1886, just prior to moving to Chicago, and in an attempt to avoid being caught for any number of crimes he committed, that Herman Webster Mudgett became Henry Howard “H.H.” Holmes.

In Chicago, Dr. H.H. Holmes found work as a pharmacist at Elizabeth S. Holton’s drugstore.  He eventually bought the store from Ms. Holton, whom, curiously, after her sale to Mr. Holmes, disappeared.  When people asked as Elizabeth Holton’s whereabouts, Mr. Holmes said she had moved to California to be near her family.

Shortly before the start of the Columbian Exposition, Dr. Holmes purchased an empty lot across the street from the drugstore.  On the lot he built a massive three-story house that took up a city block, and which locals called “The Castle.”  On the first floor of the building he operated and owned a drugstore at which he worked as a pharmacist.  Other businesses were located on this floor as well.

Areas of the second and third floors, and the basement, were used for other pursuits, and were designed and built to accommodate them.  These pursuits were torture, killing, dismemberment, dissection, and destruction of evidence.

On the upper two floors, design features included rooms with no windows, some of which were equipped with gas jets to asphyxiate victims; trapdoors; stairways and halls with dead ends; peepholes; and chutes down which bodies could be slid into the basement.

As for the basement, that is where a dissecting table and furnace were located.  Some bodies Dr. Holmes stripped of tissue and flesh – which was incinerated in the furnace or chemically destroyed; what remained, skeletons, he sold to medical schools.

How Mr. Holmes managed to have The Castle constructed without its purpose being discovered is that he allowed no carpenters or tradespeople to work long on the project before firing them.

H.H. Holmes has been called “America’s First Serial Killer.”  If not the nation’s first serial killer, he surely was one of the most prolific.  He primarily … but not exclusively … murdered young women.  Prior to the start of the world’s fair, he found an abundant source of victims among those employed in his pharmacy.

While the Columbian Exposition was open – and his gruesome crimes not yet discovered – Dr. Holmes ran within The Castle into an enterprise in high demand in the vicinity of an international event that tens of millions would attend: a hotel.

For many, the hotel would be one in which check-in was permanent.

With the fair ongoing, victims unknowingly arrived at their doom and a house of horrors.  Within The Castle, H.H. Holmes murdered at a feverish pace.

A serial perpetrator of many crimes, H.H. Holmes got out of Chicago before the diabolical work within The Castle was discovered.  He traveled across the U.S. and Canada and continued to kill.

It was in 1894, when authorities were pursuing him in connection with the death a criminal associate of his, and the disappearance of the associate’s three children (whose remains were later found), that Chicago police entered The Castle and uncovered ample evidence, including human remains, of Dr. Holmes’s killing enterprise.

Dr. Holmes was arrested and tried and convicted for killing his crime partner.  He was sentenced to death.  While awaiting execution he confessed to 30 murders; it was a confession, the specifics of which – if not the numbers of victims – were dubious, in that some of the people he said he killed were in fact still alive.

It will never be known the extent of H.H. Holmes’s killing.  Some estimate he murdered as many as 200.   His murder count just in the The Castle – later dubbed “The Murder Castle” – alone was probably at least 20 people.

Erik Larson’s thoroughly engaging and gripping, The Devil in the White City, is necessarily, at times, unsettling and disturbing – the horror from which we cannot look away.

Yet The Devil in the White City is also masterful in describing the monumental achievement and monstrous beauty of the World’s Columbian Exposition, and its lasting and positive influence of America, as evidenced in this excerpt from the book:

If evenings at the fair were seductive, the nights were ravishing. The lamps that laced every building and walkway produced the most elaborate demonstration of electric illumination ever attempted and the first large-scale test of alternating current. The fair alone consumed three times as much electricity as the entire city of Chicago. These were important engineering milestones, but what visitors adored was the sheer beauty of seeing so many lights ignited in one place, at one time. Every building, including the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, was outlined in white bulbs. Giant searchlights – the largest ever made and said to be visible sixty miles away – had been mounted on the Manufactures’ roof and swept the grounds and surrounding neighborhoods. Large colored bulbs lit the hundred-foot plumes of water that burst from the MacMonnies Fountain.

This vision compelled wonder – it compelled awe.

As did so much else of the fair.

The World’s Columbian Exposition, with great energy, and immense majesty, upheld and continued the exuberance and statement America was making on the cusp of the 20th century.

Over the next decade, America would host world’s fairs in Atlanta, Nashville, Omaha, Buffalo, and St. Louis.

Each exposition and each fair was a societal exercise in trumpeting and showing off – and also that of a relatively new nation asserting and feeling good about itself.


The planned extraordinary and magnificent closing celebration for the Columbian Exposition did not take place.

On October 28, two days before the final day of the fair, Carter Harrison Sr., who had served four terms as mayor of Chicago, from 1879 to 1887, and just been elected to his fifth term as mayor of the city, was assassinated in his home by Patrick Eugene Prendergast.

Mr. Prendergast was an emotionally disturbed man who had supported Mayor-elect Prendergast in his campaign, motivated by the delusion that in return he would receive a job in the mayor’s administration.  When Mr. Prendergast did not receive a job offer, he sought revenge.

With the assassination of Mayor Harrison – much beloved and a major supporter of the Columbian Exposition – the closing ceremony for the fair was canceled.  In its place a large memorial service was held to honor and mourn the mayor.


While buildings constructed for the World’s Columbian Exposition were supposed to be temporary, their demise was hastened, following the closing of the expo, by a series of three fires in 1894 that destroyed almost all of the fair’s buildings.

Of the original Columbian Exposition buildings only two remain and can be visited today: the Palace of Fine Arts, which now houses Museum of Science and Industry, and the World’s Congress Auxiliary Building, which today is the home of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Frederick Law Olmsted’s influence on the Jackson Park area, and on Chicago, is enduring, as described in the following excerpt from a page at the Chicago Park District website:

In 1895, Olmsted’s firm, then known as Olmsted, Olmsted, and Eliot, began transforming the [site of the Columbian exposition] back into parkland. Remaining true to the park’s original plan, the re-design included an interconnected system of serene lagoons with lushly planted shores, islands, and peninsulas. A magnificent promenade, now part of Lake Shore Drive, provided broad views of Lake Michigan. In contrast to the sublime views  of the water, the plan also incorporated an elongated meadow for lawn tennis and a larger playing field. In 1899, the South Park Commission used the long meadow as the site for the first public golf course in the Midwest, and the following year the playing field was adapted for use as an 18-hole course that still exists today.


Next in this series: the Pan-American Exposition, the world’s fair held in Buffalo in 1901.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Says Thank You to All Those Who Served in U.s. Armed Forces – and We Extend a Special Expression of Gratitude to Three Willwork Employees Who Wore the Uniform

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 


Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a leading national provider of exhibition services and event project management.

We have offices in major cities from coast to coast, and work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout our republic.

And throughout the republic, we see and experience – and we benefit from – the opportunity and freedom, the industriousness and risk taking, and the innovation and ingenuity that is more widely and deeply resident in America, that is more strongly supported in America, than in any other country.

The United States is a far from perfect union; we hold and are beset with sins and mistakes and shortcomings.

We are also, far and away, the greatest and best nation.

America has just gone through a most contentious and divisive and exhausting election.  Angst remains, and nerves are raw.  Unrest is in the land.

Fortunately, thankfully, amid and rising above the discord and enmity are respected and influential voices calling for unity, tolerance, and open-mindedness.

And, of course, during this period … as always … are the men and women of our armed forces – steadfast, unwavering, noble, resolute, courageous, and sworn to uphold our laws and our way of life.

Our servicemen and servicewomen are a force of all races, ethnicities, and creeds – and of native born and immigrants.

No organization on earth is as effective in fostering diversity, camaraderie, and operating efficiency in its ranks as is the U.S. military.

Our warriors protect and serve every American – period.  They surely don’t take inventory of one’s political party or political leaning.

It goes without saying that every day should be a day of gratitude, and a day of honor and remembrance, for those who served.

We do, though, as a society – and this is wholly appropriate – have a national holiday, a day in which there is a particular and specific focus on honoring and thanking our veterans.

Veterans Day has its origins in Armistice Day, which is still celebrated in the United Kingdom and other countries, and commemorates World War I ending with the armistice with Germany going into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

In the United States, in 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day, and was dedicated as a national holiday to remember and honor all Americans who served in our military.

From 1971 through 1977, Veterans Day was held on the fourth Monday in October.  Starting in 1978, Veterans Day returned to being held on November 11th.

In the Willwork corporate offices, sharing office space within 20 to 30 feet of each other are three Willwork employees who served honorably in the United States Armed Forces.

These special employees are our president, Will Nixon Sr., a World War II era U.S. Army veteran; Bill Miller, Senior Account Executive, who served in the U.S. Army; and Paul McNamara, our New England Production Manager, and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services extends a deep thank you and deep gratitude to Will,  Bill, and Paul for their service to our country.

And we request that all of us, always, be mindful of, and thankful for, all those who served.

Growing Your Trade Show From Niche to Mainstream

At one point in time even the largest events were starving for attention. But what happens when the trade show organizer finally has all eyes on his or her every move?

Scaling a trade show from small to large or niche to mainstream isn’t as simple as adding a few extra chairs and staffers—organizers must have a strategy backing their decisions.

Don’t panic
What once was a few hundred interested attendees has now turned into thousands of registrations on your website. Well done—you’ve grown your event from a lesser-known get together to something industry professionals are circling on their calendars. But with that success comes the responsibility of scaling your trade show in line with expectations.

First thing’s first—don’t panic. A sound strategy is all that’s needed to move your event from the shadows and into the spotlight with ease.

EventBrite reported that organizers should first vet any new registrants, especially if they’re hosting a free event. If space is limited, you don’t want to necessarily give out space to those who won’t utilize it best. While you’ll want to be able to get everyone in the doors, if spatial limitations dictate otherwise then you should restrict attendance to industry professionals.

Another option is to scale attendance with exhibitors, the news source reported. Turning a one-day event into a two-day extravaganza is a great way to entertain a crowd of any size. Just be sure you have enough organizations to present on both days.

Trade show organizers can lead event growth with a sound strategy.Trade show organizers can lead event growth with a sound strategy.

Pick the right venue
In this day and age of business and leisure, many professionals can get used to an event being hosted in one location. This leads them to make plans, like staying a week extra on paid time off, that coincide with your trade show. If you decide your venue just can’t fit everyone in attendance at the last minute, this could put your exhibition’s reputation in a tailspin.

Before your event starts to explode in popularity, EventBrite suggests finding a location that can scale in size. Locations that can adapt square footage, or have multiple rooms to accommodate different-sized events, are your best friend. Location becomes intertwined with the branding of your trade show, so you’ll want to pick one that you can return to for years to come.

Take some time to decide which part of the country you want to settle down in and work to find a long-term venue provider to suit your needs. Your attendees who book everything in advance will thank you later, and you won’t stress when registration numbers skyrocket unexpectedly.

Identity spurs growth
If your event is still niche and you want it to grow in popularity, one of the most important things you can do is develop a strong brand for it. Your trade show’s target audience should be millennials and Generation X. These are the two groups of people you should be focused on as Baby Boomers are nearing their retirement age.

“60% of millennials are loyal to brands they associate with.”

Nearly 3 in every 5 millennials consider themselves loyal to companies’ brands they’ve developed connections with, according to an Elite Daily Consumer Study. This word is loaded and can mean a lot of things, but hosting a mostly digital and electronics driven event will undoubtedly support the idea that, for young professionals in your particular industry, there’s no other trade show more cutting-edge than yours.

Incorporating new technologies like holograms or digital signage as a means of wayfinding, or highly popular forms of communication like social media and live streaming, can show that your event is willing to cater specifically to the technologically-inclined. This could go a long way toward developing an identity and cultivating a loyal base of attendees.

Pick the right staff
Ultimately, the success you have in scaling your event from niche to mainstream will fall down to the people putting it together. Take your time to find the right event planner and/or contractor, event technologist and event staffers. In a sense, they’ll be the backbone to your trade show.

Rushing to hire people when you’re short on staff will only dilute the event’s brand and your ideal image of what it can be. You need a solid infrastructure to bring an event to the forefront of your industry, and successful planning is a large part of that.

Breaking Down Trade Show Industry Figures For Exhibitors [Video]

Trade show exhibitors who routinely review market research on the industry can clue in to trends and capitalize before others catch on. Here are a few figures to keep in mind as you finish out the year.

Fifty percent—as in half of all attendees visiting your booth will go to just one trade show each year. This could be the only time you see that organization’s decision maker, so be sure to capitalize on the opportunity.

Roughly eighty-two percent of all trade show visitors had buying power in 2015. Quickly find out if you’re talking to the right person to pitch your product, or how to get in touch with that individual.

Thanks for watching! Tune in next time for more trade show news.

Get the Most Out of Your Trade Show Videos

On-demand video has taken over the world. Youtube, Netflix and a host of other providers have brought forth the new era of digital content, and trade show organizers can use that to their advantage.

If your event has yet to incorporate video, it's time for, "lights, camera, action!"

Statistics on video
Visual content has replaced editorial as the premier form of marketing and engagement. Descriptive language can go a long way toward enticing potential attendees to visit your trade show, but video can encapsulate the experience in a far greater way. Remember the age-old conversion rate: A picture is worth one thousand words.

"Video is an immensely popular and fun tool."

But how can video be useful to an event organizer? Well, let's put it this way. An Adobe blog found people are almost twice as likely to buy a product showcased on video than one that isn't—an important figure for those looking to entice new exhibitors and attendees. Furthermore, Syndacast has estimated that nearly three-quarters of all internet traffic in 2017 will be driven by video.

The most eye-popping statistic may be that the simple use of the word "video" in the title of an email contributed to roughly 20 percent higher open rates, a 65 percent higher click rate for links and trims the unsubscribe rate by one-quarter, according to Syndacast.

Value is there for trade show organizers who want to take it, but it needs to be deployed in a way that's conducive to the strategy at hand. Putting a video up on the event's website without telling anyone about it will have little impact, as will shooting a video without a target audience.

Before the event
Video can be a powerful tool to use before an exhibition is underway. There are likely three target audiences:

  • Returning attendees and exhibitors.
  • New visitors and organizations.
  • Potential sponsors.

While written content certainly has its merits, especially when talking about metrics like return on investment or lead acquisition, video plays to the emotional side of things in a much stronger manner. When viewers see grand and luxurious booth displays, the networking attendees can take part in and the overall atmosphere of the event, buying in and attending becomes a no-brainer to these people who were initially on the fence about their decision.

Event Manager Blog reported that promotional videos can be used in a couple of different manners. They can take the form of a trailer for your upcoming event, or a spotlight on one of the exhibitors—which could even result in additional revenue for the organizer. Another interesting way to utilize them is to highlight a portion of your trade show that may not have received the type of participation you were hoping for, like a guest speaker.

While social media remains one of the better ways to disperse these videos, pre-event emails can be effective, too. If you still draft newsletters for a mailing list, which many organizations do, consider providing an easy access link somewhere on the page so readers can hop on their smartphone, tablet or computer and plug in the link to watch your video.

Video could turn a potential attendee into a repeat visitor.Video could turn a potential attendee into a repeat visitor.

During the event
When the doors open, the cameras should be rolling. Although getting footage as collateral for next year's trade show may not be on the top of your mind, it needs to be accounted for. You need to have the most up-to-date footage on hand, otherwise you may as well not commit to videos at all.

CMD Agency reported that the run-of-the-mill digital recorder or DSLR camera will produce excellent-quality imagery, while a wireless microphone and lighting kit can help set the stage and keep background noises out of the final product.

"Play it safe by capturing as much footage as possible."

The source also recommended having release forms on hand for interviews, as the last thing you'll want to do is get a great sound bite only to find out the person won't let you use it. Keep your questions short, sweet and to the point—these will elicit the best responses.

Be sure to get footage of all aspects of the event, as you won't know what you need exactly until you sit down to edit the final product. You can't go back in time to capture more on film, but you can discard extra clips you don't need.

Event Manager Blog reported video can also be played on an event app, if the trade show uses one. This could range from promotional videos to exhibitor highlights, or even announcements and competitions. People would much rather watch a short 15-second video than read a couple of hundreds of words on these topics.

After the event
Just because the doors close doesn't mean all is over. The year in between events is the best time to create video collateral for the next trade show and also figure out new ways to target audiences. Perhaps you found so much success with your videos that you want to try a new way of asking questions, or start a series, or even branch out to live streaming services like Periscope and Snapchat.

Take the time to sit down and review your video strategy, because making the same type of videos will only get you so far. Event Manager Blog reported that a recap video should be sent out shortly after the event, as this drums up interest among attendees that can carry through for a long period of time. Another way to create engagement among visitors is by starting a video contest, where those who were at the exhibition create their own videos. This saves you time creating one and could capture the event from a perspective your videographer didn't—but don't forget to reward them for their effort.

Don’t Mismanage Your Trade Show Budget

A trade show budget is an exhibitor's double-edged sword. If it's managed well, the organization will reap a larger return on investment from cutting costs. However, if the project spirals out of control, an exhibitor could struggle to put together a booth in the first place.

When creating your trade show budget you'll want to always keep two aspects in mind – what something should cost, and ways you can cut that expense. Here are a few tips to guide you through it:

Booth space and design
Securing room to showcase your product and gather leads at a trade show isn't cheap. Exhibitor Online reported that while venue space once represented one-quarter of a budget in 1988, it now accounts for more than one-third. This isn't a cost that can be ignored though, so it's an excellent starting point for creating your budget.

According to EO, setting aside roughly 35 percent of your budget to cover exhibitor space should keep you in the clear when tackling other concerns. This figure will change depending on the notoriety, size and industry of the event.

"Allocate 40-45% of your budget to booth space and design."

On the other hand, figures for creating the actual booth vary. reported that booth space and design should never account for more than 40 percent, but EO reported the latter usually runs an exhibitor about 11 percent of their total budget.

The good news is the cost to fabricate a booth has been dwindling, as more companies are opting for fewer barriers between their salespeople and attendees. If you find your organization is tight on funds, it may be best to go with a more modern, open-space design that will alleviate some of the heavy expenses associated with building a booth, like wood and metal. Ultimately, though, the goal is to avoid spending more than 40 to 45 percent of the budget on space and design.

Often one of the latest topics on an exhibitors mind, travel and lodging is actual the second largest expense in the average budget, according to EO. In fact, it has gone up 700 percent since 1988, mostly due to the rise in cost of hotels, airfare and other key factors associated with it.

EO recommended allocating around 14 percent of your budget to this category, but in all honesty there are multiple ways to cut this cost down. The most important of which is to book flights and lodging accommodations far ahead of time to get the best deal possible.

To help you figure out how much this category will cost your organization throughout the entire event, EO put together the Miami averages for the three most common expenses per day:

  • Hotel: $198 per day
  • Food: $99
  • Car rental: $47

Extrapolate these numbers to account for everyone participating in the trade show and you should have a solid understanding of how much this category will cost. Anything saved here is just icing on the cake, and can be redistributed back into other areas of the budget.

Promotion of an event has always been a very small line in the budget. EO reported it stands at about 6 percent on the average budget. Organizers will really want to stay in the black here, as this should be a minor operating cost in respect to the entire picture.

Utilizing social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help you market your trade show at a fraction of the average cost. All these methods take some wit, great pictures and excellent content to generate discussions. It's all about going viral, so make sure you take some time creating a catchy hashtag.

Social media marketing can be an organizer's best friend.Social media marketing can be an organizer's best friend.

Show services
This mixed-bag category can take up on average 16 percent of a budget, according to multiple sources. While exhibitors can't really avoid certain costs associated with exhibiting, like drayage, labor, booth clean-up or event internet access, actions can be taken to lessen the impact of these expenses on the budget.

MGDesign reported that exhibitors should avoid paying overtime if possible by planning shipments and services accordingly. In the same respect, planning ahead and understanding which items you'll need before, during and after the event to make it all possible is key in reducing how much you'll have to pay the trade show contractors for the very same services.

If hiring labor from an I&D provider, be sure to hire a contractor who is highly skilled in the particular booth design setup you're trying to achieve. Virtual and augmented reality are popular items right now, but should only be installed by an event technologist. Similar to the rest of the budget, spending more for something to get done right the first time will save unexpected expenses and headaches down the line.