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A WINDOW IN TIME: THE POSTER ART COLLECTION OF THE FAIR PUBLISHING HOUSE INC.

The Fair Publishing House (Norwalk, Ohio) has presented its unique historic poster art collection to the Michigan State University Museum to ensure the care and maintenance of these materials and their continued access for scholars and public use. 

 

Julie Avery, curator of rural life and culture, has worked with this collection since 1996 doing research, developing exhibits -- both museum and traveling exhibits, and inspiring workshops with fairs, museums and history societies about the value of history research and collection preservation. The Fair Publishing House Collection has been used in research, exhibitions and publications; and in collaborations with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions.

 

The exhibit is on view in the MSU Museum entrance hall through Oct. 28.

                               
From the curator:

The collection gives us a window in time to view an era and an American community tradition that, because of its voluntary nature, has not been well documented.
                               
Agricultural fairs were established and flourished as a way to strengthen agriculture, our communities and the nation at a time when agriculture was the chief industry and national self-reliance was important.
                              
Scholarly review of the livestock, architecture, machinery and fashion depicted here has validated the accuracy of the images of the period, making the collection valuable as a record and document of the times.
                             

We can also see parallels to today. Fair audiences have changed dramatically but today's fairs have similar goals - youth development, consumer education, and community celebration.