SPARK! Places of innovation

Wyoming tour takes place March 2024 - May 2025!

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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?”

Applications Due Monday, June 5, 2023
Application Portal

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.

Exhibition Requirements & Specifications:
• The venue must have a minimum of 700 sq ft, for the exhibit
• 5 outlets recommended. (5 of 7 modules require electricity)
• No direct sunlight in the exhibit space. Sunlight must be diffused in the space, if there is any
• 50 sq ft of storage space needed to store 10 exhibit crates
• Public WiFi access is recommended, but not required to experience the full exhibit

• The exhibit will include 10 handheld interactive devices and optional interactive game that encourages guests to think about solutions to challenging problems

Exhibition Tour Dates:
Six sites will be selected to host the exhibition, for the dates below.
• May 18 - July 2, 2024
• July 5 - August 20,2024
• August 23 - October 8, 2024
• October 11 - November 26, 2024
• November 29, 2024 - January 14, 2025
• January 17 - March 2, 2025

If selected as an exhibitor, Wyoming Humanities will provide:

• Transportation of the exhibit materials to and from the host site
• Consultation with the Spark! Exhibit Scholar, local scholars, and WYH staff on programming
• Publicity and marketing materials such as posters, rack cards, post cards, etc.
• $2,000 support stipend for programming and promotion
• Costs related to attending the installation workshop (travel, hotel, per diem)

***Before applying please contact Program Coordinator Lucas Fralick at***


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  

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

Workers are the backbone of American society. Known for their strong work ethic, Americans invest themselves physically, emotionally, and intellectually in their work.

American jobs are as diverse as the American workforce. The opportunity provided by work is central to the American dream and has attracted people to better lives in America. With strength, ingenuity, creativity, thoughtfulness, and heroics, American workers keep our economy and our society up and running.

The Smithsonian Traveling exhibition The Way We Worked, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years.  The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections to tell this compelling story.

Traveling Smithsonian Exhibits

Museum on Main Street is a program of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service.  This collaborative partnership between the Smithsonian, state humanities organizations, and local hosts and their community partners brings world class exhibitions to small and rural communities.  When MoMS exhibits come to Wyoming communities, doors are opened to community history and culture, developing and strengthening local partnerships.  The opportunity to host the Smithsonian provides more than a quality educational experience. Through specially designed supporting programs and creative activities, MoMS exhibits become a hub for shared storytelling and revealing local pride. Focused on broad topics impacting American history and culture like barn architecture, fences, food ways, work, migration and water, MoMS exhibitions are organized around elements of our shared American experience, helping host organizations explore cultural attributes that bind us as a nation. The freestanding exhibitions containing original objects travel in easy-to-handle wheeled crates. Wyoming Humanities helps local organizers to prepare exhibit-related events with scholarly consultations, planning sessions, installation workshops and program support.

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Bring An Exhibit to your Community

Opportunities for hosting MoMS exhibits are dependent on exhibit and funding availability. Wyoming Humanities supports Museum on Main Street exhibits in five to six communities per exhibition, depending on exhibition agreement. Organizations selected by Wyoming Humanities to host a MoMS exhibit will:

Staff Representative

Send two staff or representatives to an initial planning meeting & installation workshop with all host organization representatives (Wyoming Humanities pays mileage and per diem)

Keep Records

Will keep track of time and funds invested for reporting purposes


Will report on the impact of the exhibit tour on their community

Community Partners

Will work collaboratively with partners within their communities to promote and showcase the MoMS traveling exhibit, the local exhibit, and complementary programming

Open to Public

Hosting organizations are required to make the exhibit available to the public for free throughout the time the exhibit is on display.

Attend Workshop

Will send two staff or representatives to installation workshop with all host organization representatives (Wyoming Humanities pays mileage and per diem)

Organizations interested in learning about future MoMS exhibit tour opportunities should contact Lucas at  We’ll publish information about future exhibit opportunities and send invitations for host applications when the next exhibition is booked. Hosting organizations receive some additional program support funding, expenses related to staff participation in workshops, and Wyoming Humanities pays for moving the exhibit between communities.

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