Wilmington, Delaware – March 2018 – Hagley Museum and Library announced today that it is partnering with Tsinghua University in Beijing to mount a path-breaking exhibition in China in 2018. This unique exhibition, featuring dozens of the museum’s nineteenth-century patent models, will travel to four cities in China beginning March 27.
“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 invention and chronicles the development of the U.S. patent and intellectual property system in the 1800s. The exhibition of patent models in China is expected to engage a projected audience of more than one million visitors.
“This exhibition and partnership between Hagley and Tsinghua University provides a unique opportunity to celebrate a shared interest in the importance of a robust intellectual property system,” said Delaware’s U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “Hagley is using this one-of-a-kind exhibition to encourage a constructive dialogue between the U.S. and China on the role of intellectual property in a modern economy.”
Throughout the late nineteenth century, inventors submitted patent applications—and scale models of their ideas—to the Patent Office for review. These fascinating creations embody the genius that fueled a golden age of American innovation in the 1800s. Today, the Hagley Museum and Library is home to the largest private collection of these patent models in the world.
“Each patent model tells a story of ingenuity, invention, and the entrepreneurial spirit,” explains David Cole, Executive Director of Hagley. Patent models, typically not exceeding 30 cm in any dimension, were often wrought by expert craftspeople with the goal of impressing Patent Office examiners. “These custom-crafted, one-of-a-kind patent models represented solutions to practical problems and were viewed as compelling works of art by the public in the nineteenth century.”
“Spirit of Invention” is comprised of sixty U.S. patent models, dating from 1836 to 1890. The models represent a broad spectrum of industries, consumer interests, and inventors. 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 U.S. and China. Hagley and Tsinghua University will complement this presentation of patent models with opening receptions, academic symposia, and promotional campaigns connected to each exhibition venue.
Hagley and Tsinghua University will present “Spirit of Invention” at the following venues in China in 2018:
- Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing: March 27 - May 6
- Shenzhen Guan Shanyue: June 3 - June 28
- Shanghai Liu Haisu Art Museum: July 5 - August 8
- Wuhan Yangtze River Civilization Museum: August 15 - September 24
Hagley Museum and Library gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors of “Spirit of Invention” for their leadership and support of this historic exhibition: IDG Capital; The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; CSC; InterDigital; The Anne Carter and Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation; The Elmon B. Duff Charitable Lead Annuity Trust; and The Peachtree House Foundation.
Hagley will incorporate portions of the “Spirit of Invention” exhibition into a comprehensive exhibition slated to open in the museum’s Visitor Center in Wilmington, Delaware in 2020. Drawing on research into the inventors and the history behind each patent model, the exhibition at Hagley will explore many topics around nineteenth-century invention and innovation.
About Hagley Museum and Library
At Hagley, we invite people of all ages to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology, and innovation, and its impact on the world, from our home at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine.
For more information, call (302) 658-2400 weekdays or visit www.hagley.org.
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