What do the buffalo, Sequoia trees, Niagara Falls, the clock, the gun, and the railroad have in common? All helped set the stage for modern innovation in America.
“The Great American Hall of Wonders,” the newest exhibition to open at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, showcases the boom of science and experimentation during the 19th century. Many of the patent models and drawings are returning to a familiar place because the American Art Museum building was once the location of the patent office during the Industrial Revolution.
The collection was organized by Claire Perry, an independent curator who opens the display with a self-portrait of science pioneer Charles Willson Peale, whose studies of zoology led to his discoveries of mastodon skeletons and studies in how animals behave amongst each other within their own habitats.
The exhibition opened today and will remain through Jan. 8, 2012. For more information, visit americanart.si.edu.