Telluride Historical Museum Selected For "Places Of Invention"

In Telluride’s rugged and isolated environment, innovation and adaptation have allowed the town to prosper and reinvent itself for generations.  So it’s no surprise that given Telluride’s unique and innovative history, the Telluride Historical Museum has been selected to participate in the Smithsonian Institution’s prestigious “Places of Invention” exhibition project in 2014. It is one of only seven museums in the country to earn this distinction.

Places of Invention PhotoThe Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation received a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support science education through the center’s “Places of Invention” exhibition project. “Places of Invention,” a planned 3,500-square-foot exhibition at the National Museum of American History will feature a selection of “hot spots” of invention and innovation—places where a critical mass of inventive people, networks, institutions, funding and other resources come together and creativity flourishes. In 2014, Telluride will now be among them.

The “Places of Invention” represents a new model in exhibition design where content is co-created in a collaborative manner by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center, professional partners, and the public.

“We are thrilled that the Museum and Telluride was selected to participate in the Smithsonian Institution’s ‘Places of Invention’ program’,” said the Museum’s executive director, Erica Kinias. “Having Telluride recognized as an innovative leader by our Smithsonian partners is an incredible honor and is testimony to Telluride’s strong history of innovative residents.”

The Telluride Historical Museum will be working with community partners, including The Pinhead Institute, to create a short documentary showcasing how Telluride has been on the cutting edge of invention and innovation since the mining boom in the mid- and late 1800s. The documentary will be shown in the National Museum of American History and in Telluride, and will honor the relationship between generations of innovation, building on what came before to create the future.

In 2014, the Telluride Historical Museum will also be hosting a unique public program highlighting some of Telluride’s historic innovations, including the world’s first commercial long-distance transmission and use of AC generated power at Ames in 1891.  This TED Talks-style program will showcase local solutions and innovations to the region’s most pressing social and environmental concerns. Along with The Pinhead Institute, the Museum will also create curriculum-based and family programs that engage and inspire youth in the creative thinking and problem-solving processes.

The Telluride Historical Museum was designated an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in June 2013, a distinction earned by demonstrating the highest standards of quality and sharing the Smithsonian’s mission to tell America’s story through art, history and science.

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