Spirit of Invention

A Path-Breaking Exhibition in China in 2018

“Spirit of Invention: Nineteenth-Century U.S. Patent Models from the Hagley Museum and Library”


Exhibition Summary: The Hagley Museum and Library of Wilmington, Delaware, in partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), will mount a path-breaking exhibition in China in 2018.

“Spirit of Invention: Nineteenth-Century U.S. Patent Models from the Hagley Museum and Library” is an exhibition of American patent models that showcases remarkable stories of innovation and chronicles the development of the U.S. patent and intellectual property system in the 1800s. This display of patent models will engage a projected audience of several hundred thousand visitors with historical examples of American innovation, as well as encourage Chinese visitors to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial projects in their own lives. Hagley, Tsinghua University, and CAST will present “Spirit of Invention” at four venues in China in 2018:

Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
​Wuhan Science and Technology Museum
Shenzhen Art Museum

“Spirit of Invention” will be comprised of sixty U.S. patent models dating from 1836 to 1890. The models will represent a broad spectrum of industries, consumer interests, and inventors. These featured displays of American patent models will be accompanied by interactive displays utilizing cutting edge technologies created by Chinese innovators. Together, these artifacts will generate a rich visual discourse focused on the history of innovation and the role of intellectual property systems in catalyzing creativity and economic growth in the United States and China. Hagley, Tsinghua and CAST will complement this presentation of patent models with opening receptions, academic symposia, and promotional campaigns connected to each exhibition venue.

“Spirit of Invention” Honorary Committee and Opportunities for Support
This groundbreaking initiative enjoys the support of a distinguished honorary committee, which in the United States comprises luminaries from government, industry, and the nonprofit sector, including:

U.S. Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware

U.S. Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware

Dr. Cheng Li, The Brookings Institution

Governor John Carney of Delaware

Henry B duPont IV, president of Hagley’s Board of Trustees

Steven E. Adkins, partner, McGuireWoods

Rose Nan-Ping Chen, founder and president, The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding

Mr. Mike Ma, Co-Founder, ViewMobile International Broadcasting Group

The exhibition organizers invite individuals, corporations, foundations, and institutions interested in fostering an appreciation for intellectual property rights, innovation history, and commercial ties between China and the United States to consider supporting this exciting cultural venture.

For more information about the exhibition, contact:

Andrew Engel
Hagley Strategic Initiatives Manager
(302) 658-2400, ext. 329