NYPL Biblion: World's Fair

This NYPL Biblion: World's Fair app also includes:

Explore the digital stacks of the New York Public Library. Made up of over 700 primary and secondary sources, the app opens a door directly into the past. Users will be fascinated by this archive, which documents the World of Tomorrow.

6th - 12th 21st Century Skills 7 Views 1 Download
CCSS: Adaptable
App Overview

NYPL Biblion: World's Fair begins with an introduction and a tutorial that leads you through how to use the menus, navigation bars, and special features within the app. The app is composed of records from the 1939-40 World's Fair that are organized into seven stacks, which are briefly summarized in the introduction. While scrolling through the stacks, pupils will find hours of galleries, essays, and stories to examine.


  • Navigate the stacks in several different ways:
    • Swipe between pages
    • Drag your finger over the menu bar along the bottom of a story screen
    • View all the stacks and their contents in list form
    • Slide between stacks
  • View archives in landscape or portrait; this does change the user experience
  • In portrait, follow the yellow prompts to view connections to other stacks
  • Read a caption for each image and primary document
  • Tap the screen once to show or hide the menu bars
  • Return to the stack or lists at any time
  • Bookmark a story by touching the tag next to the title
  • Tap the Gear for information, help, rating options, and font options
  • Upon reopening the app, follow links to recently viewed stories or suggested stories


  • Fashion
  • Art
  • Stars and Personalities
  • Sports
  • Food
  • Special eExhibits and Collections
  • Architecture
  • Contests
  • Scandals
  • Science and Inventions
  • History and Politics of the Time
  • More!
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Instructional Ideas

Pair NYPL: Biblion with a study of Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, a non-fiction account of the 1893 World's Fair. Class members can compare and contrast the two fairs and focus on the importance and energy surrounding these events.

Set up a research project around the 1939-40 World's Fair. Students can use the app for research individually or in small groups. Consider assigning a certain stack to each group to explore and present to the rest of the class.

Scan through some of the images and documents as a class. Since the app is free, it's worth it even if you only want to examine one photograph!

Classroom Considerations

One section, titled "Shocker! Sex Sells," is only appropriate for more mature students. While the content is part of the whole story of the World's Fair, the story includes original accounts of some of the racier shows and exhibitions.

Check out the web version at exhibitions.nypl.org/biblion/worldsfair.


  • Includes a wealth of information and primary sources, such as handwritten letters, photographs, and sketches
  • The app is visually appealing and the interface allows for open exploration of the World's Fair

  • Crashes and freezes occasionally
  • The stacks are a bit tricky to navigate from the stack index page; it takes a bit of time to learn how to navigate the stacks