New family exhibition Spirit of Invention coming this summer

Be inspired, have fun and find your inner inventor at our next exhibition, Spirit of Invention, opening on Saturday 27 May.  

Through a fascinating combination of Victorian designs and contemporary creations, Spirit of Invention encourages visitors of all ages to discover how to be an inventor in the 21st century.  

From 27 May, the gallery will be transformed into a creative workshop where visitors can experiment, explore, and create using a range of materials and hands-on activities to unlock their inner inventor. Try on a Victorian ventilating top hat or make a call on an early telephone – and discover unique innovations from modern makers. The exhibition will be accompanied by an exciting programme of events and activities throughout the summer.    

Ahead of the exhibition opening, we invite members of the public to get into the inventing spirit and submit their designs for the chance to have them displayed as part of the exhibition. Find out more here. 

The exhibition has been co-curated with children from a local school and guest curator and British entrepreneur, Ruth Amos. Ruth is an award-winning inventor who was Young Engineer for Britain with her invention of the StairSteady, an aid to help people with limited mobility use their stairs confidently and safely. She is a co-founder of Kids Invent Stuff, a YouTube channel aimed at engaging children and young people with STEM subjects.   

Emmajane Avery, Director of Public Engagement at The National Archives, said: ‘I am hugely excited to announce our next exhibition which celebrates creativity and presents our fascinating collection of design registers in a new way. We are delighted to announce our call for invention designs, which encourages the whole family to start thinking like an inventor for the opportunity to be part of the exhibition.’ 

The exhibition has been inspired by the incredible inventions found in our Board of Trade design registers. These huge cloth-bound volumes officially registered inventions from people between 1843 and 1884. In doing so, the design registers capture the glorious imagination of Victorian Britain. In our exhibition, we explore how this spirit of invention lives on to this day.  

We will be releasing more information in the lead up to the exhibition opening, so sign up to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to make sure you get all the latest news and priority booking for our special events programme.   

Visit Spirit of Invention at The National Archives from 27 May, free and open to all throughout May half term and the summer holidays. Find out more about the exhibition here. 

Calling all inventors!

Do you, your children or your grandchildren have an invention idea? Submit your idea online for the chance to have your design displayed in our exhibition space, or even brought to life by a modern-day maker. 

Tags: events, exhibition, inventions