The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration

Invention at Play logoThe Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is open!
Plan your visit to Invention at Play

The National Museum of American History reopened on 21 November 2008 after an extensive two-year renovation. Come see what's new, including the Lemelson Center's interactive exhibition for families, Invention at Play, in the new Lemelson Hall of Invention.

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.

In addition to Invention at Play, the Lemelson Center will also open its new hands on Center, Spark!Lab.

Explore the online version of the exhibition.

Find out how you can become a Lemelson Center volunteer!

Visit the Museum's website for more information on the renovation.


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