Inside the Hearthside Museum, exhibits, artifacts and image galleries showcase the many wonders and innovations of the 1904 Fair, from the magnificent exposition palaces and attraction venues to showcases of the newest technologies including Thomas Edison's electricity and recording pavilion, wireless communication and air travel.
Exhibits inside the house include artifacts from the Fair, including the Visitor Log where Rhode Islanders signed in when they visited the Rhode Island Building. Award-winning 1904 Victor phonographs will be displayed along with original recordings from Columbia records, including “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The Gold Award received by Poland Springs will be displayed along with ads and foods made popular at the Fair.
Outside, continuous live entertainment and activities offer a glimpse of what 1904 Fairgoers would have experienced, including period fashions, cultural performances, old-time brass music, carnival–type games, antique cars, demonstrations, art displays and some of the foods that were made popular at the Fair including ice cream cones, hot dogs and Dr. Pepper.
Automobile transportation was just emerging in 1904 and so a Brass-era antique car and an antique pick-up truck will be on the grounds. The Blue Hill Observatory will display the new technologies of weather balloons for which they were recognized at the 1904 Fair.
This tribute to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair comes with a special connection for the Hearthside Museum. The 1810 Hearthside building on Great Road, then known as the Stephen Hopkins Smith mansion, was selected to be the design model for the Rhode Island pavilion at the Fair. While interior rooms of the Rhode Island building represented styles and decor from a variety of locales in the state, the exterior was a replica of Hearthside.
The World’s Fair event brings together entertainers and many Rhode Island organizations in a unique collaborative effort. Among the features in the entertainment tent are a circus magic show, belly dancing, brass band music, Chinese cultural displays and Dragon Dance, and Native American drumming, singing, and storytelling.
Artists will be capturing the scenes of the Fair on canvas, while a sculptor demonstrates how the grand statues and architectural details of the palaces at the Fair were created. There will be the re-creation of a speech given on Rhode Island Day held at the Rhode Island Building in 1904, showcasing the preeminence of our state’s manufacturing at the time. Presentations about different aspects of the Fair will also be featured.
In 1904, Hearthside itself was a center for award-winning textiles with an extensive hand weaving business run out of the attic by the Talbot family. Weaving and spinning demonstrations will take place during the event.
The turn of the century was a very proud time for Rhode Islanders, and their achievements and innovations in industry, education and the arts and were widely recognized at the Fair in St. Louis. For the millions of people who visited the 1904 World's Fair, it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Memories and connections to this grand Fair will never disappear, and now the Hearthside Museum is bringing many of these stories to life for people of all ages.
Major support for the event includes Navigant Credit Union, The Valley Breeze, Alphagraphics, Cinemaworld, RI Manufacturers Association, Lincoln Shopping Center, Twin River Casino, Luxury Cleaners, Pawtucket Credit Union and Interbuild, Inc.