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Visual Description | Places of Invention

Exhibit Overview

Places of Invention is a colorful, bright, and open exhibition gallery space of approximately 3,250 square feet. The entrance is marked by the exhibition title in large white letters placed in a light box, with a glowing background of changing colors behind images of inventors and places. Located around the perimeter of the exhibition gallery are six small sections divided by partial walls and cases, each representing a place where important inventions were developed. Behind the title box, there is a four-screen interactive world map and an open space where you can find chairs from each of the six locations featured in the show. There is also a large table in the center of the room with two tabletop interactive computer kiosks where you can input your own invention stories. The “places of invention,” in a semicircle from right to left, are: 1970s-80s Silicon Valley, California; 1970s Bronx, New York; 1950s Medical Alley, Minnesota; late 1800s Hartford, Connecticut; 1930s Hollywood, California; and 2010s Fort Collins, Colorado. Each of the six spaces is further distinguished by a color that is central to the design motif. For example, the Bronx has purple details, Medical Alley has red, and Hollywood uses gold. The spaces contain artifact walls, audio and visual displays, and hands-on interactive stations.

 

Pacemaker

Label

Medtronic 5800 Model External Pacemaker, about 1972. Debuted in 1958, this model was the first commercial version of Earl Bakken’s external transistorized cardiac pacemaker. It connected to the patient’s heart through the skin and was worn in a sling.

Verbal Description

The Medtronic 5800 Model External Pacemaker is located in the “Medical Alley” section of the exhibition. The pacemaker is mounted in a tall, thin case. The display includes this pacemaker and four other models of the invention arranged in a vertical line. The other pacemakers below the External 5800 are implantable pacemakers, and are much smaller in size. The Medtronic is the first in the vertical line, so it is mounted quite high, about six feet off the ground. The object is a rectangle about four and a half inches wide and five and a half inches tall, with two curved metal handles for a strap coming off each side and two tubes, called terminals, on top. The side of the object that is facing the visitor is white, though slightly yellowed with age, and has quite a few markings. It has two circular charts in a yellowish tan and black. The top circle is labeled “MA” and is marked around the circle by numbers 1, 1.5, 3.5, 8, 12, 15, and 22. The bottom circle is labeled “Rate” and is marked around the circle by numbers 50, 60, 90, 130, 150, 165, and 180. To the right is a small vertical switch and a small circle that appears to be a switch or nozzle. At the bottom it reads “Model 5800 Pacemaker,” and below that a metal tag with “Medtronic, Inc,” and a small basic logo of a bold “M.” 

 

Camera

Label

Camera, 1937. This camera, used on the set of The Wizard of Oz, is based on the patent received by Joseph A. Ball and Gerald F. Rackett in 1937. The box enclosing the camera, called a “blimp,” muffled the noisy camera during filming.

Verbal Description

The Technicolor Motion Picture Camera is a large object and is located in a large case about nine feet long and four feet wide in the center of the Hollywood section of the exhibition. Visitors can walk around all sides of the case. Unlike more modern counterparts, this camera is a sizable apparatus with multiple parts to it. The base is a camera dolly about six feet long and two feet wide made of black metal and placed on four wheels that are each about half a foot in diameter. On the far side of the base are a metal handle and lever. The center of the base has a small black leather seat pad on top of a mechanism that raises and lowers the camera component. The camera is located on the near side of the base and extends out about two feet beyond the base’s footprint. It is a navy-blue, rectangular box, about two feet by two feet, with gold details and dials all over it. On both sides of the box there are square cutaways that reveal the inner camera mechanisms, including a smaller blue box with gold details, and two circular guide rollers over which the film reels would run. The lens of the camera juts out toward the center of the exhibition space, with a black three-sided box about one foot wide on each side, surrounding the lens like a visor and leaving only the bottom side uncovered. 

 

Turntable

Label

Technics SL-1200MK2 Turntable, about 1979. Grandmaster Flash used this popular turntable. He said, “I would do 360 turns [on the turntable], cutting with my elbows, my mouth, and crazy stuff like that.”

Verbal Description

This Technics SL-1200MK2 Turntable is part of a larger display of DJ equipment in the “Bronx” section of the exhibition. The object sits on a shelf in a case. The shelf is about three feet high. The object is placed in the middle of the shelf, slightly to the right. It is a matte chrome rectangle, about eighteen inches by fifteen inches, and three inches high with black legs propping it up from the shelf. A black rotating disk takes up most of the surface of the rectangle, and is placed slightly to the left, leaving room for a shiny metal and black stylus; the needle that is placed on a record to play it. On the left side next to the stylus is a vertical fader, with a dial that slides up and down. It is labeled “pitch adj.” and is marked with numbers from 8 to -8. Below the stylus is a label written in shiny metal letters, “Technics, Quartz, Direct Drive Turntable System, SL-1200MK2.” On the bottom right of the rectangle is a small, black, round dial that reads “Power” at the bottom of the circle, and “off—on” at the top. The words “off” and “on” are connected with a thin arrow that points both ways, indicating that the dial turns either way to turn the object on or off. Below the dial is a white, rectangular button that reads “start,” and “stop,” and two smaller buttons to the right that read “33” and “45.”