Apply to Host Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit: “Spark! Places of Innovation” – DEADLINE EXTENDED

SC Humanities is pleased to announce a special South Carolina tour of Spark! Places of Innovation, an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. Developed as part of the Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program, this exhibit is designed especially for small cultural organizations and rural audiences that lack regular access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations.

The exhibit will tour six South Carolina communities from June 2024 – April 2025. Eligible host sites include small museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural centers and other community venues in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents. Applications are due by Monday, May 1, 2023 (this is an extension from the original deadline of April 14). Host sites receive free exhibit rental, a grant to support local community programming, opportunities for professional development, and more.

About the exhibit:
The story of human history is written in inventions and innovations. People are problem- solvers. Sometimes we invent. More often, we innovate—we introduce a fresh idea or an invention into use in some way that creates a new way of doing or thinking.

Invention can happen anywhere and it’s happening right now in small towns across America. Rural Americans are creating new products, taking risks, meeting challenges together, and seizing upon exciting opportunities that change local life and sometimes reach far beyond.

Spark! Places of Innovation will highlight innovation in rural America from the perspective of the people who lived it! Their words, images, and experiences gathered through an ambitious crowdsourcing initiative will be the heartbeat of the exhibition. Technical, social, cultural, artistic, or a combination of all of these– every innovation is as unique as each community. Explore the diversity, ingenuity, and tenacity of rural Americans in Spark! Places of Innovation.

Dr. Randy Akers, Executive Director of SC Humanities, is pleased to be bringing Spark! to South Carolina: “The human spirit includes curiosity and creativity. Innovation and invention are not confined to large cities or universities, but new products and ideas are being generated all the time in small towns, bringing new vitality and resources to sustain local life.  The unique combinations of places, people, and circumstances provide the sparks necessary for future development.  This exhibit helps small-town America and South Carolina examine the sparks of invention and innovation  necessary to not only exist now, but to survive in the future.”

SC Humanities hopes that the communities that host Spark! Places of Innovation will be able to further develop their cultural assets, engage in new collaborations, and grow their community identities in new and inspiring ways.

Spark! Places of Innovation has been made possible in South Carolina by SC Humanities. Spark! Places of Innovation is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils across the country. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

For more information about Spark! Places of Innovation in South Carolina, contact T.J. Wallace at 803-771-2477 or

Download the application! | PDF file