Monica M. Smith is the Lemelson Center's Head of Exhibitions and Interpretation. Since 1995, she has led and participated in the planning and development of museum exhibition projects, public programs, publications, and other research and educational initiatives about the history of invention and innovation and informal invention education.
Her projects include serving as the project director, co-curator, and principal investigator for three National Science Foundation-funded exhibitions: Game Changers (in progress); Places of Invention, winner of the inaugural 2017 Smithsonian Excellence in Exhibitions Award and the 2016 Dibner Award for Excellence in Museum Exhibits from the international Society for the History of Technology; and Invention at Play, a traveling exhibition with two versions that traveled to 22 museums and won the prestigious American Alliance of Museum's Excellence in Exhibition award. A selection of other Smithsonian exhibition projects include: Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There (at the National Air and Space Museum); Making a Modern Museum: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Museum of American History (closed); and From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar (closed).
Monica writes frequently for the Center's blog series as well as peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters such as: "Percy LeBaron Spencer," American National Biography (2018 online); "Playful Invention, Inventive Play," International Journal of Play (July 2016);“Medical Alley, Minnesota, 1950s: Tight-Knit Community of Tinkerers Keeps Hearts Ticking,” Places of Invention (2015); "The Lemelson Center's Places of Invention Project," Technology and Innovation (Dec. 2014); and “Invention at Play: An Award-winning Interactive Traveling Exhibition,” Museums at Play: Games, Interaction and Learning (2011). She is also a featured speaker in the Smithsonian Channel’s award-winning film “Electrified: The Guitar Revolution.” In addition, Monica served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Museum Education (2005-08) and on the Rotary Club of Washington, DC's Board of Directors (2014-17; 2018-19), Membership Chair (2013-17; 2018-20), and Club Historian (ongoing).