My first museum project was a big one—scripting the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Now, this was a “museum” that had no existing collection, no photographs and little to no research on its 130+ inductees, so our team had to build it all from scratch back in 1993, when you couldn’t just run to the internet for all your informational needs. That meant we had to dig through attics, unearth dusty boxes in company archives, sift through the amazing filing cabinets of Corbis, and speak to actual humans. To a person, everyone we contacted—every descendent, archivist and inventor—was kind, helpful and chockablock with interesting stories and points of view about invention in America. Frankly, it was huge fun for an information junkie such as myself.
But, that was almost 20 years ago now. Many other projects have come and gone, and that one had faded from memory until today, when, out of the blue, I was asked to throw together a list of inventors with whom I had spoken during exhibition development. There may have been others, but these are the ones I could remember:
How lucky I am to have brushed up against that much world-altering genius in my tiny little life.
“Mr. Greatbatch was a “humble tinkerer” who patented more than 325 inventions, notably a long-life lithium battery used in a wide range of medical implants.”
:: Had the honor of working with this singular individual during the development of the National Inventors Hall of Fame back in the 1990s. He was a remarkable person whose passion for discovery sparkled out of his eyes like diamond flares. This is well worth a read.
He also said something interesting that has stuck with me for 18 years. “If I tried to make the pacemaker today, I couldn’t do it in the United States.”