Places of Invention is a planned exhibition at the National Museum of American History organized by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Scheduled to open in 2014, it will feature a selection of “hot spots” of invention and innovation—places where a critical mass of inventive people, networks, institutions, funding and other resources come together and creativity flourishes. Focusing on the mid-19th century to the present, each exhibition area will have hands-on experiences illustrating the ways that place and social collaboration shape the inventive process.
Places of Invention represents a new model in exhibition design, where content will be co-created in a collaborative manner by the center, professional partners and the public. That’s where Affiliates come in. Places of Invention has received a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation which will, in part, support a community documentation project and related programming at six Affiliates. Affiliates with strong emphases on invention in their own missions will receive training to work with a community partner to document what makes their city a “place of invention.” Affiliates for the pilot phase of the initiative include: the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN; The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology in Newark, OH; York County Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, SC; the Women’s Museum in Dallas, TX; the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA; and the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.
Their photographs, interviews, videos, oral histories, archives and more will become a part of the Places of Invention exhibition at the Smithsonian, inviting others to view their cities in new ways.
For more on the grant and project, read the press release. The pilot phase is set to begin in Fall 2011, so watch out for more updates as the project progresses. In the meantime, congratulations to our Lemelson Center and Affiliate colleagues on this unique collaboration!