Gallery of Innovation at the Detroit Historical Museum to be more than just a history lesson.
Peter Poulos I Special to the Jewish News
ade in Detroit." "Imported
These and similar
taglines have been promi-
nent, lately, as symbols of the spirit
of resurgence throughout our region.
But to those planning the Gallery of
Innovation — one of the new exhi-
bitions that will be featured in the
Detroit Historical Museum when it
reopens on Friday, Nov. 23, following
a six-month closure for renovations
— these words are more than just ad-
vertising slogans and relate to more
than the production of cars.
"All too often Detroit's innovations
are reduced to the automotive in-
dustry, with Henry Ford representing
the figurehead for local innovation,"
explained Joel Stone, Detroit Histori-
cal Society Senior Curator. "What we
hope will happen is visitors will walk
away from experiencing this new
exhibition with an understanding
that Detroit's innovators came from
all walks of life and were innovative
in many different ways. More impor-
tantly, by featuring innovations from
other areas, we'll not only educate
our visitors but inspire them."
Among the innovators — both past
and present — being featured are
Jewish innovators Albert and Julius
Kahn, Stan and Iris Ovshinsky, Florine
Mark and Josh Linkner.
Beyond 'Eureka' Moment
The new gallery will explore only
Detroit-area innovators and innova-
tions, emphasizing how Detroit has
historically been — and will continue
to be — the hub for innovation. In
particular, it will focus on the pro-
cess that these inspirational men
and women followed in making their
dreams a reality. It will also help dis-
pel one of the more common myths
surrounding this process.
"Most of us tend to think of in-
novation as that one great moment
when an individual came up with that
brilliant idea," said Stone. "The truth
is that this is rarely the case. We want
to emphasize this and really show
"We're excited that at the
center of this space, you'll
actually be able to create
and test different innova-
tions yourself at our Inno-
vation Station," said Stone.
"For example, people can
choose to create their own
distinct soft drink flavor,
based on the innovations
of James Vernor and the
Feigenson Brothers (Faygo)
and try them out with
what a messy process innovation can
virtual 'taste testers.' You can work
be, full of false starts, failures and
by yourself or with your family. This
will truly give you a sense of what it
"We also want to show that there
was like for the people — the innova-
was no single path to success that
— we're featuring and, hopefully,
these courageous people followed.
you at the same time!
They each encountered different
"Overall, this promises to be one
roadblocks ranging from the political
of the more exciting — and innova-
climate at the time to lack of money
— enhancements at the Detroit
and, in many cases, discrimination.
Museum. I think we all
Yet as different as these individual sto-
believe that if we had the opportu-
ries are, they each have one thing in
nity, we could make something — or
common — persistence. This is what's
make something better. Come Nov.
at the heart of this new exhibition."
you'll have your chance to do just
Because innovation is such a hands-
on process, it's only fitting that the
new gallery will feature an Innovation
For more information, go to www.
Station. This will allow visitors to take
or call (313)
lessons learned from other Detroit in-
novators and actually try the process
Some of Detroit's famous - and not so famous! - innovators and innovations
of Detroit Boat
Club, oldest yacht
and rowing club;
such as E. A.
S. Williams, S.H.
Sibley and J.H.
Eber Ward produces
steel at Eureka Works
in Wyandotte, laying
railroad, stove and
Ward becomes Detroit's
opens first private
school for Afrtcan
September 20 • 2012
First Model T
founded in Detroit
by Joseph Prance and
opens his first
begins selling the
soft drink bearing
opens first store
Avenue, where he
creates first ice
AT END OF
Detroit News W.W.J.
At age 24, DPS grad Robert Scherer
builds machine in basement of parents'
home that transforms production
of soft gelatin capsules used in the
pharmaceutical industry, helping
raise worldwide health standards.
Experimental machine now resides in
and marketed by
Max Klein (owner
of Palmer Paint
Co. in Detroit)
and Dan Robbins
topped 12 million
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