National Inventors Month at the Smithsonian

Energize Our World Poster_emailThere’s a lot of stuff happening for National Inventors Month. Inventors Digest, along with sponsor LegalZoom, has extended the deadline for U.S. college students to submit entries for the 2010 Collegiate Alt-Energy Challenge.

The Challenge, which builds on a previous initiative with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, is accepting 2-minute Web video “elevator pitches.” We’re looking for the best, low-cost alternative energy technology, product or service.

See details at Inventors Digest.

Meanwhile, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in Washington, D.C., celebrates National Inventors Month with family activities relating to music and sound innovations.

Mark your calendars for this weekend:

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The Center is at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Music and Sound in Spark!Lab

Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

First Floor, West Wing

Spark!Lab, the Lemelson Center’s hands-on invention and science space, hosts music-related activities and experiments in honor of National Inventors Month. Activities include inventing instruments out of recyclable materials, music mixing on digital music-making systems and sound wave experiments.

Performance/Screening: Music of “The World of Tomorrow” by Bluebrain

Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8; 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

First Floor, Carmichael Auditorium

This 30-minute screening features silent films from the 1939 World’s Fair, the theme of which was “The World of Tomorrow,” from the museum’s Archives Center. The films are accompanied by an original electronic score composed by D.C. music collective Bluebrain.

Meet Our Museum: Electric Guitars

Saturday, Aug. 7; 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

First Floor, Presidential Reception Suite

Museum curator emeritus Gary Sturm discusses guitars from the museum’s musical instruments collection. This 30-minute presentation allows visitors to get up-close to artifacts such as a Gibson ES-150 and Prince’s Yellow Cloud.

Meet Our Museum: Sound Recording

Sunday, Aug. 8; 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

First Floor, Presidential Reception Suite

Museum curators Carlene Stephens and Hal Wallace discuss objects from the museum’s sound recording collections. This 30-minute presentation allows visitors to get up-close to artifacts such as machines made by Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and a Sony CBS 16-track mixing board built by CBS engineers.

Drum Circle

Sunday, Aug. 8; 5 p.m.

Second Floor, Flag Hall

FunDrum Rhythm Circles founder Jonathon Murray invites visitors to join him in a drum circle and help fill the museum’s Flag Hall with lively beats. Visitors will be encouraged to join in and express themselves through the use of tuned drums and other percussion instruments.

Book Signings

Ronald Mesnier’s “All the President’s Pastries: Twenty Five Years in the White House”

Saturday, August 14; 1 p.m.

Second Floor, Center

Roland Mesnier, former White House pastry chef, will sign copies of his memoir “All the President’s Pastries: Twenty Five Years in the White House.”

Demonstrations and Tours
Quilting Demonstration
Tuesday, August 17; 11 a.m.
Second Floor, West Wing

Volunteers from the Annapolis Quilt Guild demonstrate quilting, piecing and other quilt-making techniques and display related tools from the museum’s Textile Collection.

Lace-Making Demonstration
Thursday, August 26; 1 p.m.
Second Floor, West Wing

Volunteers from the Chesapeake Region Lace Guild demonstrate lace-making techniques and display related tools from the museum’s Textile Collection.

Theater Programs

Join the Student Sit-Ins
Daily; 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Second Floor, East Wing

Visitors can meet a Civil Rights activist in 1960, just after the Greensboro student sit-in began, and take part in a training session based on an actual 1960s manual. This 20-minute performance reveals the people behind the objects on view and the emotions in their stories.

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Second Floor, Center

Visitors can meet Mary Pickersgill, the seamstress who sewed the Star-Spangled Banner in 1813, and help her assemble the huge garrison flag and learn about its history. This 20-minute performance reveals the people behind the objects on view and the emotions in their stories.

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