Masters of Invention exhibit

March 4, 2020 | Sarah Heinonen

SPRINGFIELD - Misha Mayers-Greaves, Denise McQueen and Zaire McQueen hovered around presentation boards, reading the biographies of black inventors and viewing samples of the now everyday objects they created, from the wrench to the stethoscope and everything in between.

James Ince, curator of the Black Inventions Exhibit, said that in the exhibit’s 24 years of travel to 40 states and abroad, the Feb. 26 exhibit at the Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center in Springfield was the first at a senior center. Usually the artifacts are shown at schools and libraries.

Ince told Reminder Publishing the story of visiting a school in the Springfield area at which two of the students were the great-grandchildren of Dr. George F. Grant, one of the inventors that is highlighted in the exhibit. Grant invented the golf tee.

The exhibit was built on the work of a patent worker, Henry Baker, who began documenting invention patents filed by black Americans. Ince said that the exhibit is always growing and changing to reflect research that sheds light on more black inventors.

After nearly 25 years, Ince said, the next step for the exhibit may be to transform it into a virtual exhibit to reach people beyond those who can visit the inventions in person.

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