Skateboarders and the Smithsonian? In 2013, that unlikely pairing launched a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and leaders of the international skate community. Grounded in the belief that invention and innovation happen every day—often in unexpected places—Innoskate celebrates invention and creativity in skate culture and shares that history with diverse public audiences. Innoskate research and public festivals spark the imaginations of young people through skate demonstrations, discussions with skaters and inventors, films, hands-on invention educational activities, art collaborations, and the acquisition of skate objects for the national collections of the Smithsonian. Collectively, these activities reveal the creative thinkers in the skateboarding community who push boundaries, solve problems, and advance their community through invention.
The inaugural Innoskate festival took place on June 21-22, 2013 in Washington, DC, to mark the 10th anniversary of global Go Skateboarding Day. With the Washington Monument as a dramatic backdrop for a specially-built skate ramp installed in front of the National Museum of American History, skateboarding’s pioneers—including Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Patti McGee, Cindy Whitehead, and Paul Schmitt—shared their insights about skate history, invention, and innovation with 30,000 museum visitors from around the world. The success of this initial Innoskate event inspired new collaborations and additional Innoskate festivals. In 2014 Innoskate came to the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, FL, and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. In 2015, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, SC, and at the ESPN X Games in Austin hosted Innoskate events. What's next? Keep reading!