According to dr. whewell - the real symbolism lay in the actual material objects that were confronted by the audience:: The classification system of the crystal palace there was obviously still some national divide. China - snubs them by requesting 300 of the 5000 square feet offered to them. Us - asks for more square feet to show off. Though prince albert tried to make the organization system include all nationalities, in actuality each arrangement did become nationally-influenced. It was hard for less advanced aboriginals of certain countries to participate. According to prince albert, who used a ton of lofty words to express his ideas: Exhibition meant to foster unity of mankind , emphasize divison of labor which helps mankind fulfill its great/sacred mission and use his god-given reason to conquer nature to his use . Basically to show how far mankind has come and how we can go even further to greater and better things.