by Jen Graves
on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 3:25 PM
June 1 will be the 100th anniversary of the opening of Washington's very first world's fair: the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, which, as HistoryLink puts it, succeeded in convincing a lot of people that Alaska was a suburb of Seattle.
The event was full of marvelous curiosities like the Upside Down House.
It was also plenty racist. Eskimo and Igorot (Filipino) people were part of the "attractions," on display for the late Victorians to ogle.
The Igorots were so scantily clad, in fact, that these upstanding Christian men had to be brought in as "moralist" judges. (They ended up OKing the loincloths.)
HistoryLink's fairly awesome slide show of 58 images from the A-Y-P (where the above images are from) is here.
In remembrance of the way the A-Y-P put indigenous people on display, a group of UW public art students will go on display inside a 20-by-20-foot sculpture on the street for the duration of StreetFair this weekend. Could be interesting.
There's another act of anti-A-Y-P-racism coming up, too—an exhibition of objects by contemporary artists at the Burke called Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Indigenous Voices Reply, which opens May 30.
This whole A-Y-P centennial is ramping up: Here's the site for all the related events.