The acronym STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, probably rings a bell. But do you know what SEAD means?

After attending ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival, a free event that runs Friday through Sunday, you just might.

The acronym stands for science, engineering, arts and design — a vibrant collision of disciplines with the potential to change technology and stimulate creativity and innovation.

The festival features the 15 universities that form the Atlantic Coast Conference. They’ll take over three floors of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History during the three-day event, which features 38 interactive installations themed around place and environment; health, body and mind; and culture and the arts.

Installations run the gamut from spacesuits to virtual “swampscapes,” and showcase how innovative researchers are using technology to address global challenges and answer quirky questions.

A Virginia Tech-presented installation uses virtual reality to explore World War I tunnels; one from the University of Louisville examines the weblike patterns created by whiskey. Robots, light installations and science-inspired art will be there, too. A packed schedule of performances and scholarly exchanges rounds out the festivities.

ACCelerate has been programmed by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Smithsonian museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The event was designed to spur conversations and inspire even more innovation.

The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on floors 1-3 of the National Museum of American History’s west wing.