The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum isn’t much larger than a walk-in closet, but unless you’re Barneys creative director extraordinaire Simon Doonan, your closet can’t compete with the museum’s effervescent approach and flair for unique presentation. The exhibit “Inventive Eats” artfully ties together the serendipitous invention of the chocolate chip cookie and George Washington Carver’s experiments with peanuts, sweet potatoes, and pecans into an edifying overview of the intersection of intellectual property concerns and food preservation. As to be expected, the social history aspects are portrayed with a wide-angle lens, but the devil is clearly in the details: an elephantine ’50s-era microwave oven offers a tribute to our forefathers’ struggles for kitchen independence while a mesmerizing loop of vintage television ads plays in the background. All this plus the world’s largest Mr. Peanut costume.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. MONDAY TO FRIDAY AND NOON TO 5 P.M. SATURDAY TO JUNE 2011 AT THE NATIONAL INVENTORS HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, 600 DULANY ST., ALEXANDRIA. FREE. (571) 272-0095.