The story of Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition  has returned in a new exhibit at The Buffalo History Museum—the Exposition’s only planned, permanent structure.

The Pan-American Exposition was a world’s fair held in Buffalo between May and November of 1901. The  exhibit inside the Museum’s State Court, “Return to the Rainbow City: Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition,” recounts the story of the fair—its planning, construction, and legacy—and feature a variety of Pan-Am artifacts, paintings, and photographs. The display includes nearly 100 Pan-Am keepsakes – from cups and mugs to paperweights and playing cards – that souvenir manufacturers created for the fair.

During the Exposition’s six-month run, more than eight million guests from around the world passed through its gates to explore the fair’s 350 acres bounded by Delaware Park, the New York Central railroad line, and Delaware and Elmwood Avenues. The fair aimed to celebrate the achievements of the Western Hemisphere and foster better relations between the nations of North, South, and Central America. It showcased industrial, cultural, and technological progress—the centerpiece being the large-scale use of electricity to illuminate its buildings each night.

The New York State Building, now The Buffalo History Museum, was the Pan-Am’s only permanent structure. During the Exposition, it served as a reception hall and featured exhibits about New York State. Following the fair, as planned, the Buffalo Historical Society activated the galleries as a new home for its ever-expanding collection.

The new exhibit complements other Exposition-related history already on display in the Museum’s “Continuum” exhibit, including the gun that anarchist Leon Czolgosz used to fatally shoot President William McKinley at the fair’s Temple of Music on Sept. 6, 1901.

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