On Thursday, December 8, the museum will close at 3:30 p.m. due to a special event; Spark!Lab and Wonderplace will close at 3 p.m.

Profile profile for A_Tribute_to_Dorothy_Lemelson

A Tribute to Dorothy Lemelson, 1926 - 2021


Dorothy “Dolly” Lemelson served as a valued and beloved member of the Board of the National Museum of American History from September of 1998 through December of 2004, and then continued to serve as an Alumni member until her passing in March of 2021. During her more than 20 years of service, Dorothy devoted countless hours to helping the Museum strive for excellence.

Dorothy Lemelson along with her husband Jerome Lemelson, were outstanding supporters of invention and innovation in America. Together, they created The Lemelson Foundation, of which Dorothy served as Chairman for the last twenty-one years. The foundation funded programs to encourage entrepreneurship among young people. The Lemelson family also created the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In addition to her work with the Lemelson Foundation, Dorothy also led and funded the Lemelson Education and Assistance Program (LEAP), which works to improve children's lives primarily through the support of public education. The recipient of many awards of recognition for her philanthropic efforts, Dorothy was presented with the Order of James Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution's highest honor for individuals who make transcendent contributions to the Institution, on May 5, 2002. Prior to pursuing her philanthropic interests, Mrs. Lemelson was an interior designer and owner of Dorothy Ginsberg Associates in New Jersey. Her design sense and personal aesthetic were impeccable and much admired by all who knew her.

Dorothy will be greatly missed but her and Jerry’s legacy of inspiring learning and spurring invention will live on in the generations of young people who will benefit from their life’s work.