Off the tourist-beaten track in the complex of Capitol Mall Smithsonian museums and galleries is the the S. Dillon Ripley Center. I’ve been to the Mall-located Smithsonian complex dozens of times (I lived and worked in DC for three years, close by the Mall), but I had to scavenge to find the S. Dillon Ripley Center. (Look for a small rotunda entrance next to The Castle – It leads to the underground facility.)
The reason for my visit was to see an exhibit called, “The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World.”
Like the space in which it is set up, the exhibit itself is under-whelming as museum installations go. Nevertheless, it is mind-blowing (and priceless) as a collection of historic documents — and as a tribute to the scope of projects that Steve Jobs championed. (See: NYTimes.com’s Steve Jobs’ Patents, an interactive feature about the 327 patents that include his name among the applicant team.)
Displayed in a 30-foot (or longer) series of 6-foot tall cases that replicate iPhones are a big percentage of the actual U.S. Patent Office certificates granted to Apple during the Jobs era.
It’s not an exhibit that will appeal to most people. However, I recommend to a special few of you (you know who you are) to get by and see it if you are in DC during the summer of 2012)– It’s pretty impressive to see such a collection of patents that include things ranging from the Apple II to the unique plexiglass stair system found in many Apple Stores.
[If you don't see a slide show below, click here.]