Laying the Seeds for the GGIE | Mechanics' Institute

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Laying the Seeds for the GGIE

Treasure Island Museum
Building One, Treasure Island
One Avenue of the Palms
San Francisco, CA

70 years before the Golden Gate International Exposition and its theme of Pacific Unity, San Francisco’s Mechanics' Institute began reaching out to the Pacific Rim with its Industrial Expositions that displayed and promoted the products of local entrepreneurs and inventors. These 31 Expositions, held from 1857 to 1899, bolstered California’s infant economy, encouraged the demand for local goods and whetted the public’s appetite for elaborate, multi-attraction fairs.  When the Pacific Mail Steamship Company started their “China line” and “Shanghai Branch Line” with monthly runs to Hong Kong, Yokohama, Nagasaki and Shanghai from San Francisco, the MI fair managers were eager to capitalize on this new trade network. Invitations to the 1869 and 1871 fairs were extended to China, Japan, British Columbia, the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and the neighboring states. Both fairs were pioneering efforts to encourage trade relationships with these countries and they exposed the curious citizens of the Bay Area to the exotic cultures and products of the Far East. Ultimately these exhibitions lay the seeds for larger international expositions such as the California Midwinter Fair of 1894, the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, and the Golden Gate Exposition of 1939.  Speaker: Taryn Edwards, Librarian, Mechanics’ Institute

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Taryn Edwards - 415-393-0103

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