Presentation board for the Singer Sewing Machine, 1977. Courtesy National Museum of American History.

 

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

At the turn of the 19th century, the United States was a country rich in natural resources and opportunity, but wanting in people and machines. Initially the nation’s entrepreneurs turned to England and Europe for labor, technology, and tools. Over time, American inventors devised their own solutions to the challenges facing the country in manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and everyday life. Then, as now, they captured their creativity on paper, recording ideas and their evolution into reality.

Doodles, Drafts, and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian documents two centuries of American ingenuity and industry, from inventor’s hand to investor’s boardroom, from patent office to factory floor. Drawn from the rich collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, the traveling exhibition encompasses familiar domestic and industrial icons as well as ideas that never got off the drawing board.

More than 70 original pencil sketches, ink drawings on linen, notebooks, patent drawings, trade literature covers, and other documents illustrate well-known consumer products such as Singer sewing machines, a Maidenform bra, and Crayola crayons. Drawings related to large-scale construction projects ranging from New York’s Grand Central Terminal to the Panama Canal are also featured.

Presented framed or in handsome display cases, exhibition materials are organized into four sections. Text panels address how each artifact is used to explore, persuade, record, or explain; labels detail the significance of each object’s creation. Together, objects and text encourage visitors to consider the designers’ creative thought processes, industrialization itself, and the importance of visual records to historians and future innovators. Aesthetically exciting and intellectually intriguing, Doodles, Drafts, and Designs will appeal to audiences interested in art and design as well as history, technology, and popular culture.

Contents 74 objects, floor cases, banners, text panels, labels
Supplemental

Website, brochure, educational resources, PR materials, digital graphic templates, speaker list

Participation Fee

$5,500 for an 8-week booking period, plus prorated shipping

Running Feet

250 running feet (75 running meters)

Crates 14
Weight

1,505 kg (3,315 lb.)

Category History & Culture
Security High
Shipping

Prorated, SITES-designated carrier

SITES Contacts Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142 (Scheduling)
Toured Through 2006

 

Dates   Host Institution Status
1/31/04 4/11/04 Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, WA Booked
5/1/04 6/27/04 J. Wayne Stark Gallery, College Station, TX Booked
10/2/04 11/28/04 The Art League of Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs, FL Booked
12/18/04 5/1/05 The Octagon House, Washington, DC Booked
8/6/05 10/9/05 Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, GA Booked
10/29/05 1/1/06 Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, NY Booked
1/21/06 3/19/06 Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena, CA Booked
4/8/06 6/4/06 Barrington Area Historical Society, Barrington, IL Booked
6/24/06 8/20/06 Columbus Museum of Art and Design, Columbus, IN Booked
9/9/06 11/5/06 The Blackhawk Museum, Danville, CA Booked

 

Press Releases and Features

11.5.03

Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian Collections Illustrate History of
American Ingenuity

"Doodles, Drafts, and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian Institution" documents two centuries of American ingenuity and industry, from inventor's hand to investor's boardroom, from patent office to factory floor.

The exhibition opens Jan. 31, 2004 in Seattle, Wash., at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and will remain on view through April 11. It will continue on an 11-city tour through 2006. Drawn from the rich collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the traveling exhibition encompasses familiar domestic and industrial icons as well as ideas that never got off the drawing board. The exhibition has been made possible by the support of Marsh Inc., the global risk and insurance services firm.

Seventy-four original pencil sketches, ink drawings on linen, notebooks, patent drawings, trade literature covers, and other documents illustrate well-known consumer products such as the Singer sewing machine, the Maidenform bra, and the Crayola crayon. Drawings related to large-scale construction projects ranging from New York's Grand Central Terminal to a hydraulic plant at Niagara Falls are also featured. Among the highlights of the exhibition are a patent drawing for a waterwheel dating from 1838 and a patent drawing of an airtight bowl and lid, which later became known as "Tupperware." Organized into four sections, with interpretive panels addressing how each artifact is used to explore, persuade, record, or explain, the exhibition illustrates American industrialization and the importance of visual records to invention and industry.

Since 1871, Marsh has provided risk management, insurance-brokering and program-management services to businesses, public entities, professional-service organizations, private clients and associations. For more information about Marsh, go to www.marsh.com.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries acts as both public and academic library, as scholarly resource and general information service. Its collections of 1.5 million volumes housed in 20 libraries include 40,000 rare books and manuscripts and the nation's largest collection of commercial trade catalogs.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History traces American heritage through exhibitions of social, cultural, scientific, and technological history. Collections are displayed in exhibitions that interpret the American experience from the Colonial times to the present.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play.

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