City Life Org – Atlantic Coast Discipline Collaboration Conference Stimulates Creativity and Innovation at Smithsonian Festival

“ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival” returns to the National Museum of American History

For the first time in over two years, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is once again welcoming visitors inside to experience a major public festival. The museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in collaboration with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech, will present the 2022 ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and InnovationFestival. This year’s ACCelerate festival opens on April 8 and runs until April 10. The three-day event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET each day.

The ACCelerate Festival is a celebration of creative exploration and innovative research taking place at the intersection of science, engineering, arts and design across the Atlantic Coast Conference ( ACC) and the Smithsonian. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with a host of innovators paving the way for creative exploration. There will be 25 interactive installations presented by students and professors from ACC universities and colleges. The museum’s Draper Spark!Lab will also temporarily reopen for in-person invention activities during the festival.

Both exhibition and festival, the ACCelerate projects will span two floors of the museum and bridge the gaps between the natural world and emerging technological trends. Visitors can meet and sing along with realistic penguin robots, learn how researchers think about how to perform surgery in space where bleeding can create dangerous situations in a microgravity environment, and take a virtual reality journey in the natural environments most affected by climate change. A full list of ACCelerate Festival exhibits is available.

“We are thrilled to resume the ACCelerate festival for the first time since 2019 and to safely welcome ACC exhibitor teams to share with museum visitors how creativity has continued to thrive despite the constraints of these years,” said Jeffrey Brodie, deputy director of the Lemelson Center. “The opportunity to connect active innovators with the public is invaluable, and we hope attendees will be inspired to think about invention in new and surprising ways.”

“ACCelerate has become a key event to bring together student and academic researchers from across ACC,” said Ben Knapp, founding director of ICAT at Virginia Tech. “Each exhibition presented at the festival represents the connection between the arts and sciences, and the uniqueness of the creative process. ACCelerate also offers unique networking opportunities for students and faculty and an extraordinary venue to engage and educate the public on the power of cross-disciplinary innovation.

The ACCelerate Festival will take place at the National Museum of American History, located on Constitution Avenue NW between 12th and 14th Streets. Hours of operation are Friday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information about the museum, visit

About the Lemelson Center

The Lemelson Center engages, educates and empowers the public to participate in technological, economic and social change. The center undertakes historical research, develops educational initiatives, creates exhibitions and hosts public programs to advance new perspectives on invention and innovation and to foster interactions between the public and inventors. The Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation, featuring the Draper Spark!Lab, “Places of Invention” and “Inventive Minds”, is an iconic part of the National Museum of American History’s 45,000 square foot space centered around the theme of innovation. For more information, visit the center’s website. Follow the center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About ICAT at Virginia Tech

Powered by cutting-edge technology and networks of creative people, Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Art, and Technology (ICAT) brings together and supports teams of faculty and students from all academic disciplines to meet great challenges and creative opportunities, ranging from big business problems to industry-specific issues at the frontiers of artistic expression.

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