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50 Years of Innovation: Sharing Inspiration

“The challenge for each of us is to preserve that sense of wonderment that emerges as every child grows — that wonderment that occasionally blossoms into invention.”
— National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Gertrude Elion, inventor of anti-leukemia drugs


Every great invention begins with inspiration. Since 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has been dedicated to sparking wonder and sharing inspiration through one-of-a-kind museum exhibits, competitions and education programs.

In celebration of the Hall of Fame’s golden anniversary, we’re renewing our commitment to helping young innovators maintain their curiosity and express their creativity, so that they can become the next generation of world-changers. Read on to learn more about how we promote the power of motivation and the thrill of discovery.

Sharing Lessons in Invention

To ignite the innovative spirit in us all, there is no better source of inspiration than accomplished inventors. That’s why National Inventors Hall of Fame education programs, like Camp Invention® and Invention Project®, are influenced directly by our Inductees, as well our Collegiate Inventors Competition® Finalists.

Each of our programs brings the lessons and stories of real-world inventors to life through exciting, hands-on challenges designed to boost confidence and encourage creativity. Many Inductees also personally visit with children participating in Camp Invention, providing both meaningful encouragement and lasting memories.

“’I wonder if you could do this.’ It’s such a wonderful phrase and a great way to start the day. You have to see if your ‘I wonder’ statement propels you into thinking a different way or looking at a problem differently.”
— Inductee Jacqueline Quinn, inventor of EZVI (emulsified zero-valent iron)


“If you have a good, interesting project going, work is not coming to work — it’s coming to an adventure.”
—Inductee George Alcorn, inventor of the X-ray spectrometer


In learning from more than 600 Inductees, we’ve found that inspiration to solve problems and develop new ideas can come from anywhere, at any time. For instance, many inventors are inspired by exploring nature, playing or listening to music, cooking, reading, engaging in sports and conducting experiments. Of course, inventors also are inspired by conversing and collaborating with others — a key part of every National Inventors Hall of Fame education program.


Inspiring Educators and Children

While each of our programs is filled with inventor-inspired challenges and encouraging words of advice from creators and entrepreneurs, it takes dedicated educators and families to ensure our programs reach children across the country.

Educators both give and receive inspiration as they lead young innovators in high-energy, open-ended STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) exploration and discovery.

“Watching kids' excitement when they created something was amazing! I loved listening to their conversations with their parents when they brought items home. The ideas they come up with are amazing!”
— Lydia R., Camp Invention Instructor, Jefferson, SD


“My favorite part was providing the time for students to work hands-on creating their own ideas. I liked helping them brainstorm and simply listening to their ideas, which ultimately expanded my thinking.”
— Samantha M., Camp Invention Instructor, Dracut, MA


“My child absolutely loved the creative aspect of Camp Invention. He was able to collaborate and invent many different things. He loved the environment with his teachers and other students. Camp invention was fantastic!”
— Brian G., Camp Invention parent, Price, UT


“[My child] always came home with a positive and inspiring story to tell about the fun things they did during the day — from inspirational and knowledgeable guest speakers to problems and challenges they solved.”
— Doralie P., Camp Invention parent, Waldorf, MD


Contribute to the Next 50 Years of Innovation

Your donation to the National Inventors Hall of Fame gives meaningful opportunities to children, educators and emerging inventors. You can direct your support to the cause you value most, from providing scholarships for STEM education programs to funding hands-on learning materials.

Visit our website to make a one-time contribution or provide steady support by selecting a monthly donation.

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