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Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A World's Fair look into the future

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Between 1933 and 1940, millions of visitors flocked to six World's Fairs across America. Some of the cutting-edge architecture and innovations showcased at the fairs are on display at the National Building Museum's exhibition, "Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs in the 1930s".

Against the backdrop of the Great Depression and with fascism taking hold in Europe, the fairs offered a fantastical world of abundance and freedom and promised a hopeful vision of the future.

In this First Person account, co-curator Laura Schiavo explored one of the messages promoted at the fairs: that to be an American meant to be a consumer - even in hard times.

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