Christine Broda-Bahm (202) 633-9156
Order of James Smithson Bestowed on National Museum of American History Benefactor
Dorothy Lemelson became the eighth inductee into the Order of James Smithson on May 5. Mrs. Lemelson and, posthumously, her late husband, Jerome (1923-1997), were recognized for their contributions facilitating the creation of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in 1995 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
The Lemelsons were commended for their "bountiful generosity [that] has opened vast horizons for the future of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History," according to the award citation. The award was conferred at the dinner of the Smithsonian Board of Regents.
The Lemelson Foundation has committed $40 million to the Smithsonian to endow the nation's most comprehensive program promoting invention and creativity. It is the third largest gift to the Smithsonian Institution from an individual private foundation.
"We are thrilled that this great honor is being bestowed on Mrs. Lemelson. She is a champion of American ingenuity and an embodiment of the philanthropic spirit," said Arthur Molella, director of the Lemelson Center.
Bar code readers and cordless phones, cassette players and camcorders, automated manufacturing systems, even crying baby dolls are among the hundreds of devices that have derived from the inventions and innovations of Mr. Lemelson.
Inspired by the splendid gifts of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (Asian art) and Mrs. Enid A. Haupt (garden), the Order of James Smithson, established in 1984, is expected to be conferred upon a relatively small number of individuals over time for magnificent contributions to the Institution.
Mrs. Lemelson joins the ranks of Arthur M. Sackler (1984), Enid A. Haupt (1984), S. Dillon Ripley (1984), Sarah Roby (1985), Kenneth E. Behring (1998), Hirayama Ikuo (1999), and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy (2000).
Nominees for the Order of James Smithson are proposed to the Smithsonian Secretary by the Smithsonian National Board and approved by the Smithsonian Board of Regents. Members of the Order of James Smithson become Life Members of the James Smithson Society.
The Lemelson Center is dedicated to documenting, interpreting and disseminating information about invention and innovation, encouraging inventive creativity in young people, and in fostering an appreciation for the central role invention and innovation play in the history of the United States.
Mr. Lemelson was a prolific inventor, holding more than 500 patents at the time of his death.