Monica M. Smith is the Head of Exhibitions and Interpretation for the Lemelson Center. She leads the planning and development of exhibition projects and works on public programs and other Lemelson Center research and educational initiatives. She served as project director, co-curator, and principal investigator for the Center’s NSF-funded Places of Invention exhibition project, which won the 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. Previously, Monica was the project historian and the second project director and principal investigator for the Center’s NSF-funded Invention at Play traveling exhibition, which won an AAM Excellence in Exhibition award and a MUSE Gold Medal for its companion website. Other Smithsonian exhibition projects she worked on include: Making a Modern Museum: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Museum of American History; Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There; and From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar.
Monica's journal articles and book chapters include: "Playful Invention, Inventive Play" in the International Journal of Play (July 2016); "Why There? Why Then? Examining Places of Invention" in Dimensions (May/June 2016); “Medical Alley, Minnesota, 1950s: Tight-Knit Community of Tinkerers Keeps Hearts Ticking” in Places of Invention (2015); "The Lemelson Center's Places of Invention Project" in Technology and Innovation (Dec. 2014); “Invention at Play: An Award-winning Interactive Traveling Exhibition” in Museums at Play: Games, Interaction and Learning (2011); and “The Electric Guitar: How We Got from Andrés Segovia to Kurt Cobain” in Regional Cultures in American Rock ‘n’ Roll: An Anthology (2011). She is also a featured speaker in the Smithsonian Channel’s award-winning film “Electrified: The Guitar Revolution.” In addition to her tenure at the Lemelson Center since 1995, Monica served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Museum Education (2005 to 2008) and on the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC (2014-2017).