Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center Celebrates National Inventors’ Month by Building World’s Largest LEGO Light Bulb and Hosting Inventor Ralph Baer
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and LEGO Systems Inc. are celebrating National Inventors’ Month by hosting a two-day collaborative build of an 8-foot-tall bulb made entirely of LEGO bricks Aug. 1 and 2 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The universal symbol of a big idea, the light bulb will be assembled by museum visitors together with the help of LEGO master builders. The activity aims to reinforce the connections between play and invention explored in the Lemelson Center’s “Invention at Play” exhibition.
“It has never been more important to develop a future generation of inventive thinkers and problem solvers,” said Arthur Molella, director of the Lemelson Center. “Lemelson Center research shows that curiosity, imagination and visual thinking are all key skills developed during ‘play’ that can lead to invention and innovation. The Lemelson Center and LEGO Systems have joined together to foster these qualities in children.”
Spark!Lab, the center’s hands-on invention activity space, will feature special building and engineering-related activities throughout the weekend. The Lemelson Center has collaborated with LEGO Systems to develop activities that can be conducted in 29 of its brand retail stores across the country for children who will not be able to attend the Washington, D.C., event.
National Inventors’ Month takes place annually in August to celebrate invention and creativity and to positively promote the contributions inventors make to society. The celebration month was initiated in 1998 by the United Inventors Association of the USA, the Academy of Applied Science and Inventors’ Digest magazine.
The Lemelson Center’s celebration of National Inventors’ Month continues Aug. 15 when the center hosts Ralph Baer, the father of the home video game, as part of its Innovative Lives series. Baer will re-enact the first time he played his game Odyssey with his partner Bill Harrison and then answer questions from the audience about his life and work. Online visitors to the center’s Facebook page will have the opportunity to submit questions virtually. Visitors will be able to play classic and contemporary video games on the first floor of the museum following the presentation with Baer.
LEGO Systems, Inc. is the Americas division of the LEGO Group, a privately held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials. For more information, visit www.LEGO.com.
The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people. The center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country’s most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Lemelson Center is located in the National Museum of American History. For more information, visit invention.smithsonian.org.
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