Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Orleans 1885: Educational Department.....

The New Orleans exposition's Educational Department occupied the entire east and south galleries of the Government & States Building. The United States government, twenty-four states, France, and several private institutions demonstrated their various educational methods. The first educational exhibit encountered by visitors was a large natural history display, presented by the establishment of Ward & Howell. Towering over the main entrance to the south-gallery was a colossal Siberian hairy-mammoth, sixteen feet high and twenty-six feet long, with curved tusks measuring fourteen feet in length. Arranged around the mammoth were numerous specimens of extinct natural history.....a fifty-foot whale, a sixteen-foot ground sloth, a nine-foot turtle, and other various "monsters from the past". In addition, numerous examples of modern-day mammals were shown.....a giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, camel, antelope, walrus, and a sea-lion. A complete display of fossils, minerals, corals, birds, mounted animals, and skulls completed the vast collection. Adjacent to the natural history display was located the large exhibit of the United States Bureau of Education, displaying teaching methods from kindergartens, primary schools, grammar schools, high schools, state normal-schools, and colleges & universities. Twenty-four U.S. states were also represented by comprehensive educational exhibits, with Iowa having one of the largest and most complete displays. The numerous states exhibiting were: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Republic of France was represented by an extensive exhibit, divided into several subdivisions, of the country's excellent educational techniques. Numerous varieties of schools and teaching methods were shown, including several institutions specializing specifically in the arts. The U.S. private institutions represented in the Educational Department included: Chautauqua University, Tulane University, Wilkes-Barre schools, and several charity and industrial schools. Not surprisingly, the New Orleans exposition's Educational Department was highly praised, and exhibits judged as superior to those that had appeared at any previous exposition.

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