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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Smithsonian exhibit, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904Smithsonian exhibit, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904

At most of the major world's fairs held in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Smithsonian coordinated the U.S. government's exhibits and prepared displays of its activities and collections. In these exhibits the whole world was put in order, with ethnography, religion, and technology displayed according to carefully thought-out ideas about progress. The Smithsonian's exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition included the Langley aerodome, a model of a whale suspended from the ceiling, natural history exhibits, archaeological artifacts, and industrial machines.

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