Nation of Inventors

Nation of Inventors

In the fall of 2021, Hagley will reinvent itself with a new and modern “Nation of Inventors" exhibition in the Visitor Center.

From 1790 until 1880, the U.S. Patent Office required patent applicants to submit scale models of their inventions, along with written descriptions and drawings, for the examination of the U.S. Patent Office. With a focus on the museum’s collection of more than 5,000 patent models, the new exhibition of these uniquely American objects will tell the intriguing stories of American ingenuity, past to present.

“Nation of Inventors” will present an in-depth look at the history of invention in nineteenth-century America. From there, visitors will go onto the property to see one of the greatest examples of how a company used invention and innovation to prosper. The story of DuPont is a story of international importance, and one that Hagley showcases throughout the property. The exhibition will introduce visitors to the inventive spirit of the du Pont family and highlight the inventions they patented. 

“Invention in Action” text panels will link the patent model inventions to sites throughout the Hagley property so that visitors understand how invention changed industry and home life in the nineteenth century.

Hagley has made every effort to preserve the original Visitor Center exhibits by moving some to other locations on the property and others have found a new home at a museum in the Northeast. Several exhibits known and loved by our members and visitors will be repurposed and moved to the Millwright Shop in the middle of the property, where they complement the dioramas and Machine Shop exhibits.

New exhibits in Roll Mill 15 and 16 will introduce visitors to key du Pont family members and the reasons they selected this site for their business.

Watch this page for updates.