DEARBORN (WWJ) – From highways to the television, all-electric kitchens to robots, world’s fairs of the 1930s introduced Americans to the modern and technological wonders that were expected to change the way we lived.

Discover the future, as imagined by the innovators, architects and designers of the past, in Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s, the newest exhibition opening inside the Henry Ford Museum on April 27.

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Developed by the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., this exhibition explores how six Depression-era fairs served as a grand platform for innovators like Henry Ford to showcase their visions of a brighter tomorrow.

Between 1933 and 1940, tens of millions of people flocked to world’s fairs in cities across the nation during the worst economic crisis the U.S. had ever known. These fairs popularized modern design for the American public and promoted the idea of science and consumerism as a way to rescue America from the Great Depression.

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Designing Tomorrow brings together nearly 150 artifacts from six featured expositions:

  • Chicago, IL – A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34)
  • San Diego, CA – California Pacific International Exposition (1935-36)
  • Dallas, TX – Texas Centennial Exposition (1936)
  • Cleveland, OH – Great Lakes Exposition (1936-37)
  • San Francisco, CA – Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-40)
  • New York, NY – New York World’s Fair (1939-40)

Artifacts include architectural models, furniture, streamlined appliances, fair ephemera, period film footage and a full scale model of Elektro the Moto-Man cast from the original robot created by Westinghouse engineers for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

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Admission is free for members. Nonmember tickets are $17 adults, $15 seniors (62 and up), $12.50 youth (5-12) and free for children ages 4 and under. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit