1. What is the Lemelson Center?
The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is part of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Founded in 1995 through a generous gift from inventor Jerome Lemelson and his family, the Center documents, interprets, and disseminates information about invention and innovation; encourages inventive creativity in young people; and fosters an appreciation for the central role that invention and innovation play in the history of the United States. The Center offers a diverse array of symposia, educational outreach programs, exhibits, research opportunities, and documentation projects.
2. How do I get to the Lemelson Center?
The Lemelson Center is located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, DC, on the National Mall. The nearest Metro stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian on the Orange/Blue lines. For more information on visiting the National Museum of American History, please visit the Museum's website.
3. What’s the difference between the Lemelson Center and the Lemelson Foundation?
The Lemelson Foundation is a private philanthropy established by one of the country’s most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson (1923-1997), and his family. The Lemelson Foundation uses its resources to inspire, encourage, and recognize inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs, with a growing emphasis on those who harness invention for sustainable development where the needs are greatest.
In addition to the Lemelson Center at the National Museum of American History, the Lemelson Foundation lends support to the Lemelson Assistive Technology Development Center at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA; the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; VentureWell (formerly the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance), based in Hadley, MA.; and the University of Nevada at Reno E-Team program.
4. I’m an inventor. Will the Lemelson Center help me develop, patent, and/or promote my invention?
The Lemelson Center is dedicated to the history of invention and so cannot provide help with patenting or marketing inventions. However, our sister program at MIT has information on its website that inventors might find helpful. Please visit the Lemelson-MIT Program’s site and click on “Inventor’s Handbook.”
Also, consider joining an inventors’ organization to connect with a community of peers who can be an excellent source of information and support. The United Inventors Association of the United States lists local groups on its website. Subscribing to a magazine like Inventor’s Digest that is geared towards independent inventors can also be useful.
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