‘Expo ’74: Then and Now’ Series at JFK Library

April 15, 2024

EWU Libraries and Learning Commons is hosting a special series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Spokane’s World’s Fair, known as Expo ’74.

The six-month-long fair brought some 5.2 million visitors from around the world to Spokane, which, at the time, was a city of just 170,000 residents.



The Expo ’74: Then and Now event series will include an exhibit consisting of objects and documents from Expo, a speakers panel, and a digitizing projet collecting memories from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Organizers say the series, which began earlier this month and runs through April 26, will focus on Expo ’74’s economic and cultural impact on Spokane County, EWU and the region as a whole.


Archival Exhibit:

Expo at Eastern: World’s Fair Collections from the EWU Archives is on display at JFK’s Secrist Gallery through April 26. The exhibit showcases materials from the EWU Archives’ Expo ’74 collections, as well as materials on loan from the community.

Exhibit highlights include:

  • Items from the Afro-American Pavilion, one of the first World’s Fair Pavilions dedicated to the Black experience,
  • Collections on the planning and promotion of the World’s Fair, which includes a reel of commercials that aired in 1974,
  • Easterner articles about the use of dorms as hotels for Expo visitors and students working at the fair,
  • King Cole’s guest book, which includes autographs from dignitaries and celebrities ranging from Jimmy Carter to Liberace.

Speaker Panel:

A panel featuring the insights of three faculty experts will be held from noon – 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 in the JFK Library lobby.

The panel will provide multidisciplinary perspectives on the legacy of Expo ‘74. Free coffee will be provided courtesy of Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

Faculty experts include:

  • J. William T. “Bill” Youngs, PhD, professor of history, author of the seminal history of the fair: The Fair and the Falls: Spokane’s Expo ‘74.
  • Margo Hill, MURP, JD, associate professor of urban and regional planning and program director, American Indian Studies. Hill, who attended the event as a child, will share her reflections on tribal history and participation in Expo ’74.
  • Erin D. Dascher, PhD, associate professor of geosciences. Dascher will reflect on the changes Expo ‘74 brought to the Spokane River and will explore today’s diverse river ecosystem and current conservation efforts.

Collecting Memories:

EWU Libraries is also collecting memories and photographs about Expo ’74 from alumni, faculty, staff and students as part of an ongoing effort to document how the Expo World’s Fair impacted Eastern, and how Eastern contributed to Expo ‘74.

**If you need an accommodation, please call 509.359.6201 three days prior to the event date, or anticipated gallery attendance.