Its impact can be hard to imagine in the Internet age, but 50 years ago, when the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65 was staged, it was a chance for many people to experience an array of world culture and glimpse the technological dazzle of the future.
For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it represented groundbreaking methods of taking the gospel message to multitudes.
The Mormon Pavilion at the fair has left a lingering legacy immediately observable in the art, dioramas and multi-media technology of today’s visitors’ centers.
“Experience obtained from this exposition formed the philosophy and methodology of Church visitors’ centers,” wrote Brent L. Top, dean of religious education at Brigham Young University, in a soon-to-be-published article. “Indeed the huge leap forward initiated by the Mormon Pavilion must be considered a seminal event in the evolution of the Church’s use of media in spreading the gospel message to the world. From that time to the present day, the Church’s outreach through its use of technology and media has increased steadily and exponentially.”