Smithsonian Honors Fort Collins as an Invention Hub for Clean Energy

How A Place Matters from Colorado State University on Vimeo.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is honoring Fort Collins in a recently-unveiled exhibit exploring some of the country’s most influential invention hub communities of the last 150 years.

“Places of Invention” opened this Summer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It explores communities which appear to have been the right place at the right time for massive technological innovations. These include such examples as precision engineering in late 1800s Hartford, Conn., the Technicolor of 1930s Hollywood and the personal computer’s rise in 1970s and 1980s Silicon Valley.

Fort Collins serves as the contemporary example for the community’s focus on clean energy technologies.

“Situated where the plains meet the Rockies, Fort Collins, Colorado, is known for its abundant natural resources, good agricultural land, and outdoors lifestyle,” said Joyce Bedi, senior historian at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “The city is also gaining a reputation for breakthrough inventions in clean energy and socially responsible innovation.”

Colorado State University used the Smithsonian’s announcement as the foundation for a new documentary, “How a Place Matters.” The piece, produced by CSU and Rocky Mountain PBS and narrated by Inside Energy reporter Dan Boyce, dives further into the special sauce drawing green-energy innovators to Fort Collins and shows how its community culture of bikes, beer and bands allows residents to follow their dreams without sacrificing their lifestyle.


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