At a Glance
Seattle has hosted two world fairs — the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 and Century21 in 1962. These fairs served as windows into the city’s past, present and future. The AYPE presented Seattle as a hub of trade and commerce in the turn-of-the-century era, showcasing cutting-edge technology, art, music and entertainment on the Olmsted-designed University of Washington campus. In contrast, Century21 laid out a futuristic vision of the city, eagerly anticipating the transformations that high technology would bring to ordinary life. The AYPE was set against the backdrop of the pre-World War I Pacific, while Century21 emerged during the coldest year of the Cold War. Join local historian Lorraine McConaghy as she examines the cultural, historical and technological contexts of the two fairs within their respective eras.