Exhibits

Highlights from our rotating collection of special exhibitions.

Museum Exhibits

Gallery of Icons

This exhibit shares fascinating tales behind the more than 500 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees, amazing men and women responsible for conceiving among the most recognizable and widely used inventions of our time.

Familiar names include the prolific Thomas Edison, who filed more than 1,000 patents, including the electric light bulb; the high-flying Wright Brothers, who successfully piloted the first powered aircraft; and the brilliant George Washington Carver, who famously developed crop-rotation methods for conserving nutrients in soil and discovered hundreds of new uses for crops such as the peanut and sweet potato.

Of course, modern-day luminaries including Apple visionary Steve Jobs feature prominently in the Gallery of Icons, as do lesser-known – though hugely influential – inventors like Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, who created the architecture for the Internet you’re using right now!

Intellectual Property Power

What is intellectual property? How can patents and trademarks shape a culture? How do inventions impact society? Our Intellectual Property PowerTM exhibit answers those questions and more on a trip that puts you behind the lens, in the driver’s seat, and blazing down the information superhighway.

Sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Qualcomm and in partnership with the George Eastman Museum, Intellectual Property PowerTM focuses on the stories of three iconic brands and the revolutionary inventions that made them global phenomena.

Step into the driver’s seat of a custom-designed 1965 Ford Mustang merged with a 2015 Ford Mustang to get a firsthand view into how far automotive design and technology has come in 50 years – and what the next half-century may bring for the automobile. It’s been a wild ride since the days of Hall of Fame Inductee Henry Ford’s Model T.

See how the patents of Hall of Fame Inductees George Eastman, Steve Sasson, and Eric R. Fossum changed the way we see the world. Get a full picture of the progression and development of the camera and interact with cultural touchstones of imaging history, thinking about your own most-treasured photos and what they mean to you.

Just as a world without photos is unfathomable, it’s hard to imagine life without your smartphone – but in 1990, when Hall of Fame Inductee and Qualcomm co-founder Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs told an audience, “We are here because someday, everyone will have their own phone number,” such a device was still a fantasy. Interactive displays within the Intellectual Property PowerTM exhibit illustrate how a connected world came together through the power of technology – and what it means for the world of tomorrow.

2018 Inductees

Each year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, recognizes a class of Inductees – whose innovations and inventions have impacted the world we live in – by bringing their incredible contributions to life in a new exhibit. The 2018 Class includes such visionaries as Stan Honey, inventor of Sports Broadcast Graphic Enhancements; Sumita Mitra, inventor of Nanocomposite Dental Materials; and Joseph C. Shivers, Jr., inventor of LYCRA® Fiber (Spandex). View the full 2018 Class

Interactive Kiosks

Trademarks are all around us in the form of colors, characters, slogans and logos. Each day, we encounter an estimated 1,500 trademarks for some of the world’s most well-known brands. Through continuous exposure, we’ve learned to correlate various cues with name-brand companies and products. The intellectual property protections of patents and trademarks have helped power these companies to become the most well-known on the planet.

Our interactive kiosks put your patent and trademark knowledge to the test. Match some of the most iconic characters, colors and sounds to their respective brands. After acing the test, find out what inventor superpower you have, by answering questions that align you with one of our superhero National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees.

Visionary Veterans

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) honors its Inductees who served during The Great War. Presented in this exhibit are the stories of five WWI veterans and NIHF Inductees whose innovations have affected our world from the early part of the 20th century until the present day.

Edwin Howard Armstrongwas a member of the United States Army Signal Corps when he witnessed a bombing raid in Paris that spurred his desire to develop a better method of pinpointing aircraft. He went on to create his crowning achievement – wide-band frequency modulation, better known as FM Radio.

Arnold Beckman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps near the end of the war, but as he was set to leave the United States for Europe, Germany signed the armistice that ended WWI. Postwar, Beckman became an inventor and entrepreneur, developing instruments for chemical laboratories. His signature invention, the pH meter, fulfilled an important need for scientists.

Eugene Houdry served in the tank corps of the French Army until he was wounded in 1917 during the battle of Juvincourt, for which he won the Croix de Guerre for heroism. As an inventor, he developed a method for catalytically cracking low-grade crude oil, revolutionizing the production of gasoline.

Frederick McKinley Jones enlisted in the Army when the US entered WWI, one of 200,000 African Americans who served in France. After the war, Jones used his technical skills and developed mobile refrigeration technology that was vital to keeping blood, food and medications fresh during World War II.

 

Alfred Loomis served as a US Army lieutenant colonel at the Aberdeen Proving Ground during WWI. With the experience gained from working on military technology during the war as background, Loomis designed Long Range Navigation (LORAN), a radio navigation system for marine and flight navigators to determine a vessel’s location, along with his other innovations.