According to the plan agreed upon by the Centennial Commission, the magnificent collection of articles presented at the Exhibition will be subjected to the examination of 200 judges, half of whom are foreigners and half citizens of the United States. They are selected for their known qualifications and character, and are experts in the departments to which they are respectively assigned. The US judges are appointed by the Centennial Commission; the foreign judges by the Commission of each country. These judges review the papers and base their awards on merit. In view of the important question, what is merit? It is originality, invention, discovery, usefulness, quality, skill, workmanship, fitness for purpose, adaptation to public desire, economy and cost. All of these issues are taken into consideration by the judges in drafting their final reports, which are prepared and upon which awards are to be made by the Centennial Commission. The Commission does not offer staggered awards. The Exhibition medal will be bronze, uniform in all cases; but the value of the medal to the exhibitor will depend on the written report of the judges, which will fully emphasise the merit of the exhibit.
The large number of judges engaged in this work, and the necessity of having some accommodation for consultation and comparison, have necessitated the construction of a building for their occupation and use.
The judges' room is situated on the east side of Belmont Avenue, north of the west end of the main exhibition building.
It is beautiful in appearance on the outside and finely decorated on the inside. It is 152 feet long and 115 feet wide.
The towers at the four corners of the building are each 50 feet high and are highly decorated. The woodwork inside is beautiful. The interior is set up for the use of the judges and for meetings of committees and larger numbers of people. In the centre is a meeting room, 60x80 feet.
At the rear is a small flat, 60x26 feet, to be used for large committee meetings.
These rooms can be grouped together by removing the partitions. There are 14 small committee rooms and on the second floor a comfortable lounge. There is a lot of taste in the construction of this room, which is painted on the outside with neutral colours, judiciously contrasted.
Architect, H. J. Schwarzmann.
©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876