The New York Crystal Palace of 1853 was an impressive cast-iron and glass structure on the site of present-day Bryant Park in the borough of Manhattan. Built to host the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations—the first world’s fair in the United States—the New York Crystal Palace provided a venue to promote the innovations of this young nation and city. Thousands of exhibitors gathered to showcase an enormous range of manufactured consumer goods, artworks, and technological marvels of the age.

John Bachman, Birds Eye View of the New York Crystal Palace and Environs, 1853. Hand-colored lithograph. The Museum of the City of New York, 29.100.2387.

This symposium was held on the occasion of the Focus Project exhibition, New York Crystal Palace 1853, curated by the late David Jaffee. A panel of faculty, staff, and alumni discussed the process of creating faculty-student curated exhibitions. Distinguished historians and art historians explored the age of metal and engaged in comparisons with other world’s fairs along with how inventors and companies used fairs to display new technologies and used new modes of marketing.


For the full schedule, please click here.