(CBS) – A new exhibit at the Field Museum chronicles one of the most important events in Chicago history: the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

For the first time the museum is digging into its century-old archive to explain to the world what the World’s Fair was all about.

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CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan reports.

If you’re looking for something to do with your kids this holiday season, head over to the Field, where they are unlocking the vault on more than 200 items preserved from the 1893 event.

“There was everything there. There was beautiful architecture, yes, but there were also products on display. It was a trade show. You name it, it was at the fair,” says Mark Alvey, communications manager for the Field.

Mural-sized projections of fair photos have been animated  digitally by adding people walking around to give you a real feel for what the “White City” was like. Twenty-five million Americans attended the fair, equivalent to one in three Americans.

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“There were famous stories about, ‘Do whatever you have to do to get to the fair — sell the farm,’” Alvey says.

A new national holiday, Columbus Day, was born during the fair and products were introduced that included Shredded Wheat, Aunt Jemima syrup and Chicago’s own Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum.

Jenny Sturhahn attended the 2000 World’s Fair in Hanover, Germany.

“It is an amazing feat to create all of these buildings with such fine detail. I just wish that many of the buildings were still here,” she says.

One building still is: the Museum of Science and Industry. It was the fair’s Palace of Fine Arts. The current Field Museum opened in 1922, and exhibits from the fair formed its original collection.

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