Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Orleans 1885: Mexican Government Exhibit.....

Covering over an acre of floor-space, the Mexican Government exhibit was the largest foreign display at the New Orleans exposition. Located at the south end of the massive Main Building, Mexico presented a comprehensive display of the manufactures and industries of the large republic. The first exhibit observed, upon entering the main entrance to the Main Building, was a massive block of Mexican silver, extracted from the famous Chihuahua mines. This roughly-formed block weighed 5,640 pounds, and was valued at $114,000. Turning left from the block of silver, and walking several hundred feet south, visitors soon arrived at the Republic of Mexico exhibit. A large and ornate formal entrance-gateway led into the spacious display area, where countless exhibits were arranged in a series of twelve large courts, formed by glass-fronted ebony-black display cases. Within each court a different series of exhibits were presented, thoroughly classified, without the commercialism present in many of the other foreign government exhibits at the exposition. Displays of Mexico's sugar, tobacco, and lumber industries were shown, as well as exhibits of spices, liquors, chocolates, perfumes, flax, fruits, and vegetables. Examples of highly-detailed leather, saddlery, and embroidery work were also displayed, along with delicate silver lacework. Numerous miniature wax-figures, representing the various costumes, trades, and traditions of the Mexican people, were exhibited; along with a large representation of native Indian pottery. The variety and educational value of the comprehensive Mexican exhibits received high praise, from both visitors and critics.

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