Pan-Am Art Decorates CFA Gallery



One thousand pieces of memorabilia from Buffalo's 1901 Pan-American Exposition, on loan from antiques collectors from across the country, will decorate UB's University Art Gallery, located in the Center for the Arts, through the end of September.

The exhibit, titled "Tangible Memories," documents the six-month long 1901 World's Fair. At the time, Buffalo was the eighth largest city in the U.S. and hosted the prestigious exposition to showcase international cultures, demonstrate new technologies, and to entertain its visitors.

Many of the souvenirs on display seem modern and familiar, such as fashionable mugs, silk scarves, postcards, midway ride tickets, program fliers and photographs.

The exhibit, however, also holds some rare, eclectic items from the Expo, including an oil painting by John Key, a descendent of the famed Francis Scott Key, a large flag with the exposition's logo, and embroidery depicting scenes from the fair.

Of particular significance is a newspaper bearing a headline announcing the death of then-President William McKinley. The president had been shot outside the expo's Temple of Music, and died soon after in Buffalo.

Fred Lavin, program chairman for the event and head of the Pan-American Expo Collector's Society, is happy with the favorable response the exhibition has received at UB. He said that hundreds of people have attended the exhibit since it opened at the beginning of August.

"I'm glad we picked the University of Buffalo [to host the exhibit], because the assistance the university has given us has been superb," said Lavin.

He also commented on by reports from gallery employees visitors generally spend a lot of time surveying the items, taking care to soak up information about the exposition's history. Descriptions of the events, people, and even the music of the time are posted next to the souvenirs.

The Pan-American Expo Collector's Society has no similar events planned, but several aficionados of the expo will speak on it at UB during the month of September. Presentations will include a biographical sketch of Leon Czolosz, McKinley's assassinator, a discussion about the expo's midway attractions, and a look at Canada's role during the exposition.