Tricia Edwards is the Interim Associate Director for Smithsonian Affiliations, the Institution’s initiative to bring Smithsonian resources and expertise to communities across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Panama. Affiliations works with the 200+ organizations within its network to build capacity and facilitate collaborative programs between Affiliates and the Smithsonian—and one another. Tricia joined the organization in February 2018 to manage its day-to-day operations and to work with Affiliations leadership to develop a strategic framework for the program.
Prior to joining Affiliations, Tricia spent 12 years as the Head of Education for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. She developed the conceptual framework and led evaluation efforts for the Center’s educational programs and activities, including the Draper Spark!Lab, a hands-on invention workspace for children and families at the Smithsonian. She was also responsible for broadening Spark!Lab’s impact beyond Washington, DC, and oversaw installations of Spark!Labs in cities across the U.S. and abroad. Through this work, she and her team provided professional development for museums, and worked to build capacity and create a community of practice around invention education and inquiry-based learning. Since its inception in 2008, Spark!Lab has reached nearly 3 million children around the world.