Spirit of Invention: new exhibition opens at The National Archives

Designers and inventors joined local schoolchildren last night (24 May) to mark the opening of The National Archives’ new hands-on exhibition, Spirit of Invention.

Speakers at the launch included award-winning inventor Ruth Amos, who co-curated the exhibition in partnership with pupils from Darell School, renowned designer Sir John Sorrell and Professor Andrew Wathey, chair of The National Archives’ board.

The exhibition, which runs from May 27 until October 29, was inspired by some of the thousands of creative designs registered with the Board of Trade from 1839 onwards and housed at The National Archives.

It features cutting-edge contemporary technology alongside eye-catching inventions from the Victorian era – among them a ventilating top hat and a typewriter for blind and partially-sighted people.

In a first for The National Archives, the exhibition also offers an interactive creative experience, encouraging visitors of all ages to try their hand at designing and inventing using a range of materials.

Spirit of Invention is free to visit and will be accompanied by a programme of events including a festival day on June 4 and online talks about the big impact of small inventions – including paperclips, string and magnets.