The Atomium, one of Belgium's most iconic buildings, has created a permanent exhibition on the 1958 Brussels World's Fair featuring photographs, videos and items from an era that the television series "Mad Men" has helped popularize.
The exhibition, "Atomium. From symbol to icon," covers more than half a century of history, but its main focus is on 1958, the year that Brussels hosted "the last great universal exposition of all time," curator Arnaud Bozzini told Efe.
The 1958 Brussels World's Fair was the first great international event after World War II, Bozzini said after acknowledging that his statement sounded like an exaggeration.
The fair attracted nearly 41.5 million visitors at a time when not everyone had television and travel was not common.
The exhibition features photographs of the pavilions, bridges and buildings constructed for the fair, as well as images of the celebrities, including Sophia Loren, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Romy Schneider, among others, who visited Brussels for the event.
Posters, pamphlets, videos and vintage souvenirs help visitors travel back to 1958.
A section of the exhibition is dedicated to the Atomium, which fell into disrepair and underwent an extensive restoration in 2006.
The Atomium was supposed to stay up for only six months, but it was spared demolition because of its great popularity with both Belgians and foreign tourists.
The iconic building is one of the few structures still standing from the Expo and draws around 700,000 visitors annually, Bozzini said. EFE