Expositions (1879-1888)


The exposition of 1879 was the first held in the new Music Hall.   The opening parade was the largest in the city's history, taking two and a half hours to pass the reviewing stand and including six of P.T. Barnum's giant elephants, President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William T. Sherman and General Philip H. Sheridan.

The poster, featured as the signature image for the 1999 North American Print Conference, includes exquisite vignettes of the interior of this wonderful structure, now the home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


Exhibition posters for the 1880s all featured images of Music Hall and incoporated icons of arts, industry, competition, excellence and progress.  Some also showed the influence of the strong German American element in Cincinnati's population.

On opening night, September 8, 1880, President M.E. Ingalls read a letter from Charles W. West, who offered to donate $150,000 to the building of an art museum if the citizens of Cincinnati would subscribe an equal amount.   By closing day of the exposition, the subscription had been met.


The largest and most elaborate of the expositions was that of 1888, held in conjunction with the centennial of the City of Cincinnati and called the Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States.   This was the last of the expositions which were discontinued because of flagging interest in such events.

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