Host Sites Announced for Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “Spark! Places of Innovation”

South Carolina Humanities is pleased to announce that six communities in South Carolina will host the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Spark! Places of Innovation in 2024-2025. Spark! will highlight innovation in rural America from the perspective of the people who lived it! 

Spark! Places of Innovation explores the unique combination of places, people, and circumstances that sparks innovation and invention in rural communities. Inspired by an exhibition by the National Museum of American History, the exhibition features stories gathered from diverse communities across the nation. Photographs, engaging interactives, objects, videos, and augmented reality bring a multilayered experience to reveal the leaders, challenges, successes, and future of innovation in each town.

With the support and guidance of SC Humanities and the Smithsonian, the host sites will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs and facilitate initiatives to inspire visitors to learn how innovation has shaped their own communities and how they may be innovators themselves.

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.”

The opportunity to host Spark! was open to small museums, arts centers, libraries, and other community venues in small South Carolina towns. We offer congratulations to these selected host sites:

June 15 – July 27, 2024 – Colleton Museum & Farmers Market

August 3 – September 14, 2024 – The Museum – Greenwood

September 21 – November 2, 2024Marlboro County Museum

November 9, 2024 – January 4, 2025 – City of Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum

January 11 – February 22, 2025 Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery

March 1 – April 12, 2025 – Belton Area Museum Association

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Spark! is the ninth Museum on Main Street exhibit that SC Humanities has brought to the state since 2004.

Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

If you would like more information about Spark! in South Carolina, please contact T.J. Wallace at or 803-771-2477. More details about the unique programs that each local community will provide will be available soon.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.