SPARK! Places of innovation
Wyoming tour takes place March 2024 - May 2025!
Spark! Places of Innovation takes visitors on a journey through time and place across America to discover the stories of people who lived, worked, played, collaborated, adapted, took risks, solved problems, and sometimes failed—all in the pursuit of something new. The themes addressed are Technological, Social, Artistic and Cultural/Heritage innovation.
Why is innovation important to Wyoming? One of our goals with this exhibit tour is to showcase the extensive history and importance of innovation in Wyoming—how it shaped our state then and how innovation can shape us in the future. Spark! Gives audiences a glimpse into the conditions that inspire innovation and address several common themes such as risk taking. Wyoming was once a leader in innovative practices, where taking risks was considered just apart of the process. With this tour, Wyoming Humanities, along with our host venue partners, will make innovation an inspiring word in Wyoming again.
Spark! Exhibition - Wyoming Tour Locations & Dates
Torrington: Homesteaders Museum
May 18-July 2, 2024
Douglas: Converse County Public Library
July 5-August 20, 2024
Buffalo: Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum
August 23-October 8, 2024
Powell: Homesteader Museum
October 11-November 26, 2024
Cheyenne: Laramie County Library
December2, 2024-January 14, 2025
Casper: The Nicolaysen Art Museum
January17-March 2, 2025
The story of human history is written in inventions and innovations. People are problem solvers. Sometimes we invent—create a completely new thing or a process based on new ideas. More often, we innovate—that is, we introduce a fresh idea or an invention into use in some way that creates a new way of doing or thinking. All it takes is a spark—an idea—to get started. Those sparks are happening right now in small towns across America. Daring individuals are coming together to turn community problems into real solutions. This innovative spirit is crucial to sustaining the vitality of rural places and feeds the nation’s continuous need for fresh thinking and new solutions. But innovation flourishes in some rural places and not others. Spark! Places of Innovation seeks to answer the question, “Why?”
The exhibit explores how innovation takes place, going beyond what we traditionally think of as innovation. What factors contribute to an atmosphere of creativity and risk taking? How is innovation expressed individually and as a community? Everyday acts of invention are celebrated, from the world changing to the just getting by. Wyoming is no exception to this rule—what innovation can your community celebrate? Spark! Places of Innovation gives you the structure and framework to showcase the best ways your community has approached and can approach this question.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can apply to host Spark!?
Public museums, public libraries and most other nonprofits and government agencies. If you are curious if your organization can host an exhibition, please contact Lucas Fralick at email@example.com
What are the capacity Requirements for Spark!?
We require 700sq ft, of collective space. 5 outlets are recommended (extension cards will be provided) 50 sq ft, for storage of the crates
What if we do not have the space, but still want to host the exhibit?
You can work with other sites in your community to host the exhibit. You will still need to apply, but the exhibit can be housed in a different location from your museum or library
How much program planning must we have completed prior to applying?
The bare minimum is all we require. Wyoming Humanities would like to have an idea of what you are thinking, and we understand those plans may change by the time the exhibit arrives. If you are interested in applying but the programing seems to be a heavy lift right now, please apply, we don’t require any specifics.
What is innovation?
The exhibit is unique, because it explores all the aspects of innovation:
Social Innovation - Showcases examples of how a community came together to overcome challenges in their rural town to save it from economic collapse
Artistic Innovation - Creativity and expressive arts, can be tools that move and shape the character of an entire place and serve as a strong conduit to channeling solutions to challenging issues and handling change
Technological innovation - This is much more than one inventor, for every inventor there is a community behind them. Rural places demonstrate time and again how technological innovation keeps the community moving forward towards more prosperity
Cultural Heritage Innovation - A sense of place, a shared history and practices that contribute to a community. There is strength in customs, places, diversity, and shared values when working on a path forward.
Crucially, the exhibit attempts to answer and gives viewers the question: What is the Spark that makes innovation work? How can innovation make a community thrive in the face of steep challenges? What is happening in your town? You may be surprised to find opportunities for innovation everywhere.
What will Wyoming Humanities Provide if we host an exhibit?
WYH will cover all costs associated with transporting the exhibit Consultation with Spark! Exhibit Scholar, local scholars and WY H staff on programing Publicity materials, including posters, rack cards, post cards, etc. $2,000 support stipend for programing and promotion Costs related to attending the installation workshop
Spark! Places of Innovation is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Wyoming Humanities.Learn More