Article: Under the Bright Red Roof

Travelers employees throughout the United States and Canada should by now have a reasonably accurate concept of what the Company's building at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair will look like when completed.

Pictures of and stories about this distinctive, red umbrella-roofed pavilion have appeared over the past several months in a number of Company publications. What is to be seen inside this unique structure, however, has been given far less publicity.

Not purposely being kept a secret, the exhibit itself has been subject to almost constant revision and improvement over the past two years. This has been necessary because the exhibit, if it is to attract visitors to our World's Fair building, must prove to be accurate and educational as well as dramatic and entertaining. Those who have planned the exhibits are convinced that it possesses all of these qualities.

under the Bright Red Roof 

The idea for the Travelers World's Fair exhibit, which will take viewers on a journey through two and a half billion years of life on this planet, originated with Donald Desky Associates of New York. It has been entitled, "The Triumph of Man."

Retained to work with this organization as a consultant has been Dr. Harry L. Shapiro, head of the Department of Anthropology at New York's Museum of Natural History. To him has fallen the task of assuring our exhibit's authenticity by by making certain it is anthropologically sound, at least in as far as man's best knowledge is concerned.

Carefully Selected Episodes

In describing "The Triumph of Man," Dr. Shapiro has said that "it will tell, in 13 carefully selected episodes, the progress of man from his earliest known beginnings over a million years ago up to the present. Each scene in the sequence will illustrate the significant steps man has made in his journey from an ape-like nature to his present estate."

Dr. Shapiro has noted that this exhibit would not have been possible during the 1939 World's Fair in New York. He said that in recent years spectacular discoveries of new fossil men have been made, resulting in a much deeper understanding of the origin and evolution of culture than we have ever had before.

Development of The Travelers exhibit has been marked by a strict adherence to the truth, with no compromises on standards for the sake of showmanship. What has resulted is an exhibit inherently more dramatic and moving in its truth than any artful distortion could possibly have been.

The principle portion of the Company's exhibit will be located on the second floor of our World's Fair building. It has been designed as a series of 13 separate stages, each with its own tableau and each isolated one from another both visually and acoustically. Visitors will wend their way around the 350-foot walkway where they will view the tableau in a pre-determined sequence.

Pavilion floorplan 
This floorplan of The Travelers building at the New York World's Fair shows the main exhibit area on the second floor of the pavilion, with relative positions of the 13 exhibits.
01. Dawn of Man
02. Discovery of Fire
03. Origin of Art
04. Beginning of Agriculture
05. The First Civilization
06. The Grandeur of Rome
07. Civilization in Peril
08. The Black Death
09. The Voyage of Man's Mind
10. The Journey to the New World
11. The Taming of a Continent
12. The American Crisis
13. Man's Leap to the Stars

 In Groups of Thirty

Those Fairgoers entering The Travelers pavilion will line up in the building's "neck" where attendants at a gate will control the flow of people into the exhibit area. A group of not more than 30 will enter the first floor area of the exhibit every 75-seconds. In this 60-foot curved passageway, visitors will see a three-dimensional display showing life under water at it existed more than a billion and a half years ago.

The moderator at this time will explain the slow evolution of these early sea creatures to the point where some, after millions of years had elapsed, became oxygen breathers and took up a new life on land. This later resulted in the age of reptiles, followed by dinosaurs, and eventually the arrival of the first primates some 75 million years ago.

It is at this point where visitors are taken up an escalator to the spot where they will view the first of 13 tableaux. This shows early man in East Africa some million and a half years ago, where he is using the most primitive type of stone artifact.

Once the recorded voice of the moderator completes its explanation of the significance in man's development shown in the first scene, viewers are guided by both sound and light to the second stage, then the third, and so on. Each diorama contains life-sized models of men and animals, and each is constructed so as to give viewers the feeling they are actually a part of the scene.

Exhibit Requires Half Hour

Each stage area has its own individual lighting and sound control, with a master control for the over-all sequence. The exhibit is designed so that about 30 seconds are allowed for movement from one stage to the next. Something less than a half hour will be required to see the entire exhibit.

As visitor descends by escalator from the second floor exhibit area, the moderator points out that dangers and hazards have been part of man's life from the very beginning, and that while man tries to live in safety, he must recognize that the future is never certain nor free from danger.

At this point visitors are told of the Company's 100th anniversary and made aware of the role it has played in helping Americans over the past century to overcome dangers of all types. They are then invited to join those who are already being protected under The Travelers umbrella of insurance protection.

Source: exerpted from The Beacon, January-February, 1964


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