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Spark! Places of Innovation


The story of human history is written in inventions and innovations. People are problem- solvers. Sometimes we invent. More often, we innovate—we introduce a fresh idea or an invention into use in some way that creates a new way of doing or thinking.

Invention can happen anywhere and it’s happening right now in small towns across America. Rural Americans are creating new products, taking risks, meeting challenges together, and seizing upon exciting opportunities that change local life and sometimes reach far beyond.

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Spark! Places of InnovationTour Schedule

No Current or Upcoming Events

Future Host States


Coming in 2024 to Iowa, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming


Coming in 2025 to Arizona, Florida, Maryland and North Carolina


Coming in 2026 to four states


Coming in 2027 to Oklahoma and three additional states


Coming in 2028 to Utah and three additional states

A Smithsonian MoMS exhibit and the extensive set of events and activities leading up to and during the exhibit brought our community and area together in colorful, memorable ways.


-- Local Coordinator, North Dakota

Spark! Places of Innovation will highlight innovation in rural America from the perspective of the people who lived it! Their words, images, and experiences gathered through an ambitious crowdsourcing initiative will be the heartbeat of the exhibition. Technical, social, cultural, artistic, or a combination of all of these– every innovation is as unique as each community. Explore the diversity, ingenuity, and tenacity of rural Americans in Spark! Places of Innovation.

Does your town have a story of innovation or invention to tell? Click here to learn how your community’s story can be a part of the exhibition!

Spark! Places of Innovation explores the unique combination of places, people, and circumstances that sparks innovation and invention in rural communities. Inspired by an exhibition by the National Museum of American History, the exhibition features stories gathered from diverse communities across the nation. Photographs, engaging interactives, objects, videos, and augmented reality bring a multilayered experience to reveal the leaders, challenges, successes, and future of innovation in each town.

Spark! Places of Innovation will be the springboard for diverse local programming in the humanities, sciences, and arts. Visitors will be inspired to learn about innovation has shaped their own communities and how they may be innovators themselves. Community members will come together in conversation about their history, present, and future.

This exhibition will explore questions such as:

What is the role of creative thinkers and inventors in a town?

More details coming soon.

What resources do towns have for innovation and invention?

More details coming soon.

How important is the role of self-expression and openness to change?

More details coming soon.

How does a place encourage risk-taking?

More details coming soon.

How can diversity spark innovation?

More details coming soon..

Looking For Exhibition Resources?

Visit our Resource Center for Exhibition Guides, Lesson Plans, Scavenger Hunts, Reading List, Docent Handbooks, Free Posters, and more!

Resources Coming Soon