African American Pioneers in STEAM Museum Opens at UNTD Innovation Center

February 08, 2023

Did you know that the three-light traffic light was invented by an African American? Or that laser cataract surgery was invented by a female African American ophthalmologist? And that an African American inventor devised the first automatic transmission? 

In celebration of Black History Month, the UNT Dallas Rising Blazers will host a special viewing of the African American Pioneers in STEAM Museum Showcase Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 16-17 at the UNT Dallas Innovation Center (4315 S. Lancaster Rd., Suite 180, Dallas). The traveling exhibition will showcase dozens of replicas and examples of items invented or improved by African Americans through their efforts in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Free and open to the public, the showcase is presented by Fluor.

Designed to inspire and enlighten, the family-friendly exhibition shines a light on the many contributions African Americans have made while illustrating the exciting science behind the engineering feats.

Inventions include groundbreaking game-changers such as the IBM computer (co-invented by Mark E. Dean) and the traffic light (Garrett Morgan) along with common household staples like the ironing board (Sarah Boone), pencil sharpener (John Lee Love), world’s first hair-straightening formula (Madam C. J. Walker) and curtain rod (Samuel Scottron). These creative pioneers have played a major role in revolutionizing modern society while paving the way for the next generation of STEM innovators to think bold and outside the box.

The exhibition also includes contributions made by Hispanic STEAM pioneers, including Dr. Julio C. Palmaz, Dr. Domingo Liotta, Luis von Ahn and Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena. 

The exhibition is on view Feb. 11-12 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Feb. 16-17 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. To schedule group tours, please contact Pheobe Applon, Director of Community Youth Development – Rising Blazers Program, UNT Dallas, at or 972-338-1153.