Take a moment to ponder what our modern lives would consist of without the convenient inventions of the fork and spoon, the lightbulb, air conditioners, or even the beloved coffee maker, in all its beautiful forms. Here’s an unsettling vision: most likely, we’d be eating all our meals with our hands in dark, hot rooms with ZERO caffeine to get us through the days. I’m sure I echo most of humanity when I say “NO THANK YOU” to that life.
Gratefully, our reality and futures are far brighter than that bleak scenario above. In honor of all the men, women and even young children around the globe and especially in the United States who have been improving life for mankind by way of inventing, we hope you’ll join Quirky in celebrating National Inventors Month this May!
Almost twenty years of national inventor recognition
The first National Inventors Month recognizing all things innovative was established in August of 1998 by Inventors Digest magazine, the United Inventors Association and the Academy of Applied Sciences. Although not acknowledged officially by President Clinton nor Congress, this national month of honoring those who push the limits was widely accepted by the public and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
August proved to be an incredibly slow month for press of any kind, so in 2011 the founding parties successfully rallied to instead declare May as National Inventors Month. This switch to spring not only offered more opportunity to involve and educate school-age children in the art of inventing in the classroom, but also coincided with the National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee ceremony, an annual event which takes place every May in Washington D.C.
Whether you want to check out an exhibit, listen in on some webinars or just surf the web for invention inspiration, there are plenty of ways to celebrate inventing this May. Here are five ways to get you started:
1) Take an inspirational trip to the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. The center explores how the art of invention has impacted the development of the United States and encourages innovation for all ages through interactive and educational exhibits and events. One of the center’s most popular exhibitions includes “Places of Invention,” which takes visitors through a journey of the lives of some of the Nation’s most influential inventors and where they lived, worked, played, took risks and, essentially, changed the course of the future for all of us.
2) Don’t have time for a road trip to the Lemelson Center, but want to inspire your kids to invent and be creative? No problem! You can discover your family’s own spirit of invention by participating in the 5th annual ePals Spark!Lab Global Invent It Challenge. Open to kids ages five to 21 years old, this year’s challenge asks participants to think about a real-word health issue and come up with a solution using the Spark!Lab 7-Step Process of Invention. The challenge closes on Wednesday, May 18th, so hurry up and submit those innovative ideas ASAP!
3) Wait for The Inventors Road Show to bring informative and educational workshops to an area near you – during the month of May and all throughout the year! With workshops scheduled in New York and Philadelphia for May, the Road Show was founded by award winning inventor Andrea Rose and features pertinent topics for inventors like why you should file for a patent, how to protect and pitch your idea and how to raise capital in your industry. For those that can’t travel, Tele-workshops and Webinars are available for added convenience.
4) Check out the May 2016 issue of Inventors Digest Magazine, or subscribe to the monthly publication to keep up to date on the latest and greatest news and knowledge for individual and professional inventors. As one of the original sponsors and founders of National Inventors Month, Inventors Digest’s May issue features “Game Changers,” an article paying homage to some of the world’s most famous and infamous inventors – like Johannes Gutenberg and the Wright Brothers, inventors of the printing press and the airplane, just to name a few - who literally changed the way the world lived with their novel ideas and perseverance.
5) Use social media to discover what others are inventing in real time and to gather your own inspiration during the month of May. Simply searching the “#inventions” hashtag on Instagram will turn up nearly 50,000 photos of all things invention-related – serious, spoof or shout-out. Or, search for “inventions” in the wonderful cyber bulletin board of Pinterest to hunt down the best invention blogs and websites. Follow your favorite inventor’s accounts for daily inspiration, and you’ll never run out if ideas!
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