Friday, December 5, 2008

New Orleans 1885: United States Government Exhibit.....

Occupying 3-1/2 acres of floor-space, at the center of the Government & States Building, the United States Government exhibit was the largest single governmental display at the New Orleans exposition. Within the spacious area covered were located comprehensive exhibits from the eight departments of the U.S. Government.....the State Department, Department of Justice, War Department, Navy Department, Department of Agriculture, Interior Department, Post Office Department, and the Treasury Department. The State Department's exhibit featured numerous educational displays, representing U.S. diplomatic relations across the globe. The centerpiece of the exhibit was an immense glass oblong-sphere, containing characteristic displays from every country in the world. The Department of Justice displayed photographs of buildings used by the U.S. penal system, as well as articles manufactured by convicts. Prominently displayed was a twisted-noose, made of hemp rope, with a placard inscribed: "This rope has been used". The War Department showed the latest developments in modern warfare, consisting of various firearms and cannons; as well as a model field-hospital, consisting of tents, stretchers, ambulances, medicines, and numerous medical devices. An exhibit of human anatomy was also displayed, with the majority of the bottled and preserved examples having been collected from Civil War battlefields. The Navy Department's centerpiece was a representative exhibit of the various items used in the arctic by the ill-fated Greely Expedition. The exhibit consisted of whale-boats, sleds, guns, bed-bags, supplies, and heavy fur and sealskin garments. The Department of Agriculture displayed samples of various grasses, grains, and cereals grown throughout the U.S., and representative exhibits of the forestry, sugar, and bee-keeping industries. The Interior Department's large exhibit consisted of comprehensive displays from the Patent Office, Indian and Pension Offices, Railroad Division, National Museum and Smithsonian Institution, Land Office, and the U.S. Fish Commission. The Post Office Department constructed a working model post-office, housed within an octagon-domed Tunisian-style structure, from which free daily postal-delivery was made to 6,475 exhibitors and offices throughout the exposition grounds. Articles from the dead-letter office were also displayed, as well as postage stamps used across the globe. The Treasury Department displayed specimens of various bank notes and coins issued by the U. S. Treasury. Attached to the Treasury Department display was the exhibit of the lighthouse system of the United States, where examples of lamps, wicks, and huge crystal lenses were shown. Located immediately south of the Government & States Building was the exhibit of the U.S. Life Saving Service. On a small island in Lake Rubio was erected a model life-saving station, containing the numerous articles and appliances used in similar stations across the United States. Headed by Lieutenant C.H. McClellan, daily demonstrations of various life-saving techniques were performed in Lake Rubio, by the eight-man life-saving crew stationed at the exposition grounds.

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