Places of Invention

Places of Invention

Places of Invention takes visitors on a journey through time and place across America to discover the stories of people who lived, worked, played, collaborated, adapted, took risks, solved problems, and sometimes failed—all in the pursuit of something new. The exhibition features six communities representing what can happen when the right mix of inventive people, resources, and inspiring surroundings come together:

  • The story of precision manufacturing in Hartford, Conn. in the late 1800s shows how a factory town puts the pieces together in explosive new ways;
  • Technicolor in Hollywood, Calif. in the 1930s puts the spotlight on the young town that gave birth to the movies’ Golden Age;
  • Cardiac innovations in Medical Alley, Minn. in the 1950s examines how a tight-knit community of tinkerers keeps hearts ticking;
  • Hip-hop’s birth in the Bronx, NY in the 1970s looks at how neighborhood ingenuity created new beats;
  • The rise of the personal computer in Silicon Valley, Calif. in the 1970s–80s adds up how suburban garage hackers plus lab researchers equaled personal computing;
  • Clean-energy innovations in Fort Collins, Colo. demonstrates how a college town combines its energies for a greener planet.

A large interactive map features text, images, and video highlighting innovative communities across the country. Visitors, both on-site and online, can explore and discuss case studies as well as contribute stories about their own communities.