SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention is a 501(c)(3) non-profit science and history museum located in beautiful Bellingham, WA. Lightning strikes several times a day at the Museum, where thousands of visitors experience the marvelous history, science, and power of electricity.
The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention provides exciting and educational experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds through innovative programs and a world-class collection of artifacts representing the historic development of electricity, radio, and early technology. SPARK embraces the wonder and mystery of electricity.
The Museum’s roots go back to 1985 as an informal collection of radio sets, spare parts, schematics, recordings, and vintage magazines and manuals owned by a Bellingham resident, Jonathan Winter. In 2001, John Jenkins, a former sales and marketing executive at Microsoft, added his extensive collection to the Museum, which included early wireless and electrical devices, and rare books with first editions dating back to 1560. The two moved their collection into its current location at 1312 Bay Street in Downtown Bellingham and the “American Museum of Radio and Electricity” was born. What once was two private collections became a public treasure devoted to science and technology education.
In 2012, Jenkins decided to broaden the focus of the Museum from radio history to include, as he describes it, the “wonder and mystery of electricity.” The Museum changed its name to SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, added the giant MegaZapper Tesla coil to the collection, and a phenomenon was born. Museum visitation grew quickly, jumping from 5,000 in 2011 to 15,000 just two years later. By the end of 2017 visitation reached 20,000 people, six in 10 of whom are from outside Whatcom County.
Today, SPARK is a place where visitors can get charged about science and discovery while surrounded by one of the most significant and complete collections of its kind in the world. The Museum’s collection contains a wealth of unique and rare artifacts dating from the earliest days of scientific electrical experiments in the 1600’s through the 1940’s and the Golden Age of Radio.
The Museum houses the largest collection of 19th century electromagnetic apparatus found in any private collection, and rare music boxes, early phonographs, and many examples of radio broadcasting technology and memorabilia from the best-known radio companies and broadcasters. The collection also includes rare and original books, treatises and scientific papers by such authors as Gilbert, Newton, Galileo, Franklin, Volta, Hertz, and Marconi. The exhibits and artifacts on display at SPARK Museum have been referred to as a local version of Smithsonian!
Your generosity allows the Museum to continue serving thousands of visitors every year with the best in interactive learning and entertainment. Donations are tax deductible; financial gifts support and sustain the Museum’s science education program, interactive galleries, exhibit spaces and displays.