Author: Brian de Ruiter

a doctoral candidate at Swansea University in Wales, U.K
ENTRY

Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition of 1907

The Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition, marking the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Jamestown and the Virginia colony by settlers from England, was held in Norfolk, Virginia, from April 26 to November 30, 1907. The event was one in a series of large fairs and expositions held across the United States, beginning with the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, which commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing in America. Such events were designed as international showcases for arts and technology and were often linked to important anniversaries in order to highlight the notion of historical “progress.” More than its predecessors, the Jamestown exhibition emphasized athletics and military prowess, the latter drawing some protests. Among many dignitaries who visited the exposition were U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, the author Mark Twain, the educator Booker T. Washington, representatives from more than twenty nations abroad, and a number of foreign naval ships. Although the exhibition on African Americans was considered to be particularly successful, the event in general was a financial fiasco, plagued by poor management, overly ambitious plans, insufficient resources, and tight deadlines. The naval display, however, was impressive enough that in 1917 the exposition’s site became home to Naval Air Station Hampton Roads (later Naval Station Norfolk).

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