In January 2011, the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation launched a broad collecting initiative focusing on skateboarding and skate culture. As part of that effort, the Lemelson Center, in collaboration with the International Association of Skateboard Companies, will feature skate culture with a major public festival –Innoskate – as an extension and complement to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of global Go Skateboarding Day.
Innoskate will celebrate invention and creativity by sharing skate culture’s widespread innovative spirit with the museum’s public audiences. Innoskateactivities will feature skate demonstrations, panel discussions, films, donations of skate objects to the national collections, and other programs to showcase the impact of skate culture’s innovations in American culture.
Innoskate will take place on and around a skate ramp installed on the National Museum of American History’s plaza fronting the National Mall. With the Washington Monument as a backdrop, leading figures from skateboarding’s history and current professional skaters will present and discuss innovations in skate culture with a public audience. Discussions and demonstrations will include innovations in the technology of skateboards and equipment, the influence and impact of skate clothing and footwear on mainstream fashion and culture, and the continuous innovations in tricks – both in the street and on ramps. A concluding panel discussion will explore broad topics looking back into skateboarding’s history with insights as to where innovations will take skate culture in the future.
The Lemelson Center believes that everyone is inventive and that invention is all around us. Skate culture and technology are excellent representations of these messages, providing easily accessible entry points for visitors. Creativity and innovation are integral aspects of skate culture. The Innoskate program will demonstrate how creativity and innovation abound in unexpected or overlooked aspects of daily life.
About the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center
The Lemelson Center has led the study of invention and innovation at the Smithsonian since 1995. The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation’s activities advance scholarship on the history of invention, share stories about inventors and their work and nurture creativity in young people. The Center embodies a philosophy akin to that of the inventors it studies, of valuing creativity and embracing the potential rewards of intellectual risk-taking. The Center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country’s most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center is located at the National Museum of American History. For more information, visit http://invention.smithsonian.org.