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The exhibit highlights California’s two large-scale celebrations commemorating the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915.
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Railroad Museum to Debut New Exhibit "Two Glorious Expositions, One Golden State"

The exhibit highlights California’s two large-scale celebrations commemorating the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum will debut a new exhibit titled “Two Glorious Expositions, One Golden State: Celebrating the Panama Canal in 1915” on Friday, February 27, 2015. The exhibit highlights California’s two large-scale celebrations commemorating the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915 – the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The exhibit will feature historic photographs of structures, people and artwork (some presented in a 3-D view), artifacts including a scale steam locomotive, and related promotional items such as travel brochures, tickets, postcards and magazines. The exhibit will be located in the Railroad Museum lobby, adjacent to 19- inch gauge Overfair Railway locomotive No. 1915, constructed for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and today a permanent part of the Railroad Museum’s prized collection.

In an era rich with World’s Fairs and Exhibitions, the completion of the Panama Canal was an opportunity for two of California’s cities – San Francisco in the north and San Diego in the south – to vie for the opportunity to benefit from the expected boom in maritime-related industries. Both cities executed elaborate plans, and spared no expense to promote themselves. San Francisco, celebrating its Phoenix-like rebirth after the 1906 earthquake and fire, chose a theme of the wonders of a technological future. San Diego took a different approach, choosing a theme of looking back on a rich cultural history. Both expos showcased the best of what California had to offer the country and the world. In this largely pre-automobile era, America’s railroads got behind the two expositions by promoting travel to California to help boost their own bottom lines. A rich legacy was the result.

The “Two Glorious Expositions, One Golden State” exhibit will remain on display through January 10, 2016. For more information, call 916-323-9280 or visit www.csrmf.org

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