Places of Invention

Places of Invention

Closed July 30, 2023

Places of Invention took 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 featured 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 featured text, images, and video highlighting innovative communities across the country. Visitors, both on-site and online, explored and discussed case studies as well as contributed stories about their own communities.

This exhibition was on display in the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation.

On the Web

Explore stories relating to Places of Invention on the website of the museum's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

Visit the exhibition website


This exhibition was generously made possible by the National Science Foundation, Intel, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., and The Lemelson Foundation.