Invention at Play Wins AAM Awards :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
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Paul Rosenthal (202) 633-3656

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has received two, independent awards honoring its Invention at Play traveling exhibition.  For excellence in all aspects of public presentation, Invention at Play was awarded a 2003 Excellence in Exhibition Award, one of only five issued nationally.  Invention at Play also received a separate MUSE Gold Award for its companion Web site,  Both awards are issued annually by professional committees of the American Association of Museums.

The exhibition, developed in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota, focuses on similarities between the ways children play and the creative processes used by innovators in science and technology.  Visitors of all ages experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention: curiosity, imagination, visual thinking, model building and problem solving; the very habits that inventors find key. 

Invention at Play is the first traveling exhibition ever produced by the 8-year-old Lemelson Center.  "We wanted to create an educational experience that was also engaging and fun, and this award shows we hit the mark," said Lemelson Center Director Art Molella.  "We couldn't be prouder and we're very pleased that AAM agreed with our impression that Invention at Play shows off invention, inventors and creativity in a whole new light."

In awarding the Invention at Play Web site a MUSE Gold Award for Interpretation and Education in History and Culture, the judges called it "stunning.  This site has everything--style, sound, and good, rich content.  Best of all--it was fun."

Invention at Play is currently touring the country under the management of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. The tour schedule can be found at  The exhibition, its related programs and materials, and its national tour are supported by The Lemelson Foundation and the National Science Foundation.



The Smithsonian's Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people. The Center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country's most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Lemelson Center is located in the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. The nearest Metro stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian on the Orange/Blue lines. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except on Dec. 25. Admission is free.
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