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The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is located in the National Museum of American History. It is dedicated to documenting, interpreting, and disseminating information about invention and innovation, encouraging inventive creativity in young people, and fostering an appreciation of the central role that invention and innovation have played in the history of the United States. Visit the Lemelson Center at

Electric Guitar LogoAired: 2/2/1999, 5/12/2004, 3/1/2007


This video field trip is an exciting exploration of the timeless intersections of technology and music. Students meet guitar maker Paul Reed Smith and guitar player G. E. Smith, who demonstrate their crafts and share stories about some of the people involved in developing and popularizing the electric guitar.  Moderated by Bob Santelli, director of education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, this program is a rebroadcast of the 1996 videoconference that linked students at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., with students in Cleveland, Ohio, and Elkhart, Indiana.


Suggested Resources

Invention of the Electric Guitar — An online exhibit produced by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

Lewis Latimer LogoAired: 3/19/1999, 2/23/2005, 10/13/2005, 2/1/2007


Brad Brewer's "Crowtations" presents a puppet play that tells the story of African American inventor Lewis Latimer. Although he was a member of the Edison Pioneers, a group associated with the famous inventor Thomas Edison, Latimer is not a well-known figure. Through the unique artistry of puppet theater, the Brewery Troupe tells Latimer's exciting story of a self-educated son of slaves who rose to become an inventor, a poet, and an activist.


Suggested Resources

Science Teaching Experiments: Lewis Howard Latimer Teaching Kit —  From the Charles Edison Fund

Reinventing the Wheel LogoAired: 5/4/2005, 12/8/2005, 5/1/2007


This program explores the bicycle's unique history and technology. The velocipede achieved great popularity almost immediately when it was introduced more than a century ago. Countless inventors were inspired to make bicycles more efficient and comfortable, and bicycle innovation continues today. Students will see historic bicycles and some amazing prototypes for the future. Program highlights include "high wheelers," hand-powered cycles for the disabled, mountain bikes, and even a bicycle that rides on snow.


Suggested Resources

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — From Smithsonian Musem America on the Move Exhibition

She's Got It LogoAired: 11/3/2000, 3/30/2005, 11/10/2005, 3/2/2007


Students explore the interdisciplinary world of invention, learn about the invention process, and meet "Lady Edisons" of the 21st century. This program features women who appeared in the Smithsonian Institution's Innovative Lives series. Included in this showcase of creative women are Ann Moore, the inventor of the Snugli Baby Carrier™, and Sally Fox, creator of FoxFibres™. Students will meet young women who have won invention awards and prizes. The New Hampshire Young Inventors Contest and the Lemelson-MIT Apprenticeship program are also highlighted.


Suggested Resources

Exploring the History of Women Inventors  — The history of women inventors at Innovative Lives

Free DVDs of the programs, broadcast in partnership with The Lemelson Center, are available from the International Technology Education Association. E-mail For more details, please visit The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.