' About the Trans Mississippi & International Exposition

The Trans Mississippi International Exposition of 1898 and the concurrent Indian Congress were held in Omaha, Nebraska from June 1, 1898 through November 1, 1898. The Exposition showcased the developed West from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. Business and community leaders from the 24 states and territories lying west of the Mississippi River envisioned the Trans Mississippi Exposition as a way to revitalize the regional economy and to show that the West had recovered from the financial panic of 1893.

During the four months of the Exposition, over 2,600,000 people came to view it's 4,062 exhibits. The exhibits feature social achievements, economic productivity, and community growth of the western region. The Exposition stretched from 24th Street east to Sherman Avenue and from Pinkney Street north to Ames Avenue. Overall, it covered about 108 city blocks. The grand buildings of the Exposition no longer exist because of the poor quality of the construction materials. Most of the structures were built using green wood and plaster in order to keep the cost of these immense buildings down.

Another historically significant part of the Exposition was the Indian Congress. This Congress, occurring within a decade of the end of the Indian Wars, was the largest Native American gathering of its kind. It allowed social and cultural exchange between tribes and educational opportunity for visitors. The photographs of the Indian Congress include up to 500 individuals from 28 tribes.

The photographic collection is all that remains for the historians to view. The Omaha Public Library collection consists of approximately 1800 photographs of the Trans Mississippi Exposition. These photographs were taken by F.A. Rinehart, the official photographer of the Trans Mississippi and the only photographer allowed on the grounds. Over 500 of these photographs include portraits and scenes from the Indian Congress. Other memorabilia items also remain at the Omaha Public Library including numerous documents like tickets and programs. A listing of these documents are located in an index.

One such item is the original "Secretary's Report" from the Trans Mississippi Exposition. This document includes much information about the events and happenings of the Trans Mississippi. Other items include ride tickets, press passes, stock certificates, and medals awarded at the Trans Mississippi.

Welcome to the TransMississippi and International Exhibition of 1898. The web team hopes that you enjoy your stay.

© Omaha Public Library 2014