By Nancy J. Parezo
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Additional resources for Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition
3 By 1902 the lpec Board had selected Forest Park as the fair site. The 657acre tract of virgin forest, located away from the crowded downtown area, was surrounded by stately homes and large tracts of agricultural land. 4 The overall plan (ﬁgs. 3) centered on Festival Hall, sited on a hilltop. ” The major exhibition buildings fanned out on either side of the cascades (ﬁg. 4), and this area was referred to as the Main Picture. The twenty-four-acre Palace of Agriculture, the horticulture and forestry palaces, foreign pavilions, an athletic ﬁeld, a stadium, and an aeronautic con- Organizing the Louisiana Purchase Exposition | 17 Fig.
In an obituary, Frederick Webb Hodge described him as “a man of commanding presence, of remarkable mental vitality, ingenuity, and versatility, and of almost fanatical perseverance. ” He also vigorously promoted anthropology by “wielding inﬂuence less by original contributions than by position” (Hodge 1912, 686; Hinsley 1981, 232). If McGee was respected for his organizational abilities, colleagues were skeptical about his skills as an ethnological ﬁeldworker or theoretician. His anthropological research was designed to “prove” his and Powell’s ideas about the development of human institutions rather than a quest to record or un- 38 | WJ McGee and the Science of Man derstand distinctive cultures.
This led George Brown Goode, the Smithsonian’s assistant secretary, to rethink exposition and public museum purposes and their exhibits philosophies. He ﬁrst focused on systems of classiﬁcation. The problems of classifying material culture — from machines to vegetables — worried all exposition ofﬁcials. They needed order so visitors would not be disoriented by a massive jumble; and they needed mutually exclusive groups for purposes of awards. The ﬁrst systematic attempt was at the 1867 Paris Exposition with ten major groups, each with twenty classes containing dozens of related (in the eyes of the classiﬁers) types.