Lemelson Hall of Invention :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration

The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention

Lemelson Center light bulb logo When the National Museum of American History reopened on 21 November 2008 after an extensive two-year renovation, the Lemelson Center also debuted its new Lemelson Hall of Invention, a 3,500 square-foot exhibition gallery. The Lemelson Hall is part of a top-to-bottom renovation of the Museum’s central core. The bright, open, and flexible gallery currently features the Center’s award-winning Invention at Play exhibition.

To ensure that the Lemelson Hall of Invention is always a dynamic destination at the Museum, the Center plans to develop new exhibitions that continue to share the rich history of invention and innovation with the public.

First floor west.


Invention at Play logo

Invention at Play

What do the inventors behind Post-it Notes®, robotic ants, Kevlar®, and the telephone have in common with children? Play! And it’s the inaugural subject for the new Lemelson Hall of Invention, the Center’s first dedicated public exhibition space at the National Museum of American History, as the Center proudly presents the award-winning exhibition, Invention at Play.

Young girl on sailboard demonstration modelWith its highly interactive and engaging activities created especially for families, Invention at Play focuses on the similarities between the ways children and adults play and the creative skills and processes used by inventors. Visitors of all ages will experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention, such as curiosity, imagination, visual thinking, model building, and problem solving.

Visitors will also “meet” inventors and innovators through compelling personal stories, photos, and artifacts, and even have a chance to try learning to windsurf on the Sailboard Simulator, which is based on a design by sailboard inventor Newman Darby.

First floor west.

Be sure to visit the online version of the exhibition.

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