Fort Collins Dubbed ‘Place Of Invention’ By Smithsonian

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<p>(Courtesy&nbsp;Joe&nbsp;<span data-scayt-word="Vasos" data-scayt-lang="en_US">Vasos</span>/CSU Division of External Affairs)</p>
<p>Bryan Willson with the Cooper-Bessemer natural gas engine at the Colorado State University Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory in 2014.</p>

This story originally aired on July 29, 2015.

All that tinkering with craft beer, start-ups and agricultural research has helped Fort Collins earn a place on a list of "Places of Invention." It's a new exhibition at the Smithsonian's American History Museum in Washington D.C. and just six cities made the cut. Others include Hollywood, California, Hartford, Connecticut, and Bronx, New York. The ongoing exhibition opened on July 1.

Joyce Bedi, a senior historian with the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center, curated the Fort Collins section. She spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. Highlights from the conversation are below. Click the audio above to listen to the full interview.

Bedi on what makes a city a "place of invention"

"We're talking about the right mix of inspiring surroundings, creative people and untapped resources. There's isn't an [exact] recipe for making a place of invention. But when these ingredients come together, they can foster a fluorescence of invention and innovation."

On why Fort Collins

"We wanted to include a contemporary place of invention. We wanted a place that wasn't quite cooked yet -- where the end of the story wasn't known. ... What's cooking [in Fort Collins] is a group of people, who are fiercely dedicated to the work they are doing and to being agents of change."

On what's next for the city

"I don't have a crystal ball. But from an outsider's view, Fort Collins looks like it will continue its trajectory of success for some time. And I say that based on the support of the city government, the fact that key inventors and innovators are dedicated to both their work and to remaining in Fort Collins."