Why give to the SPARK Museum?

“This was the best 90 minutes of my life!” Exclamations like this, from a fourth-grader on a recent SPARK Science field trip, are why we do what we do. “I will never forget that comment, how spontaneously it came from that student,” says Tana Granack, operations director here at SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham. “Now that I think …

Electricity: the cure for what ails you?

“Electricity: Nature’s Chief Restorer.” The words undulate across a backdrop of jagged lightning bolts and stormy skies in a brazen advertisement for Pulvermacher’s Electric Belts. It’s a bold piece of advertising — not only in its design, but also in its claims. “Self-applicable for the cure of nervous and chronic diseases without medicine.” Pulvermacher’s electric belts — one of which …

SPARK Museum: a ‘treasure in the community’ for teachers

Feedback from teachers who bring their students to SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention consistently results in two main observations: SPARK is wonderful at helping students translate book knowledge to real-world experiences. SPARK is an underutilized resource in the Bellingham community, and more teachers should take advantage of it. “The hands-on nature of this field trip appealed to children’s natural desire …

SPARK volunteers: The magic of Ken and Bill

People often ask us here at SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention how we run the entire operation — including galleries, membership, field trips, administration, bookkeeping, weekend shows and tours — with just two employees. The answer is simple: We don’t. We just couldn’t do what we do without our team of volunteers, who help with everything from Gift Store inventory …

How a phone privacy add-on from the 1920s led to today’s Internet of Things

Advertisements described it as a “telephone silencer” that would solve three separate problems often encountered by phone users. It would ensure the privacy of phone calls, dampen the cacophony of office environments, and keep background noises out of the conversation. The Hush-A-Phone would go on to accomplish so much more than that. Hush-A-Phones were produced beginning in 1921 in models …

Benjamin Franklin Live

“Your Franklin is the best I have ever seen!” –Gordon Wood, Pulitzer Prize author: The Americanization of Ben Franklin  The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention proudly presents “Ben Franklin LIVE,” an intimate visit with the Father of Electricity as portrayed by internationally acclaimed actor and Franklin scholar, Christopher Lowell, featuring ONLY one performance: Saturday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. “Everyone …

Science you can put your hands on

It’s 12:15 p.m. on a Saturday. SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention has been open for more than an hour now, and in that time a handful of families have traipsed through the doors looking for weekend fun and educational adventure. Where did the kids head first? Naturally, they lined up at the many interactive exhibits in SPARK, getting ready to …

The machine that legend says ran for 100 years straight

In a hallway outside the Clarendon Library at the University of Oxford in England, a little electric bell has been ringing almost non-stop since 1840. It certainly hasn’t been plugged in to the wall, so what’s the explanation for this long-running electrical marvel? The device hasn’t been taken apart to be examined, but experts’ best guesses are that it is …

At SPARK Museum, STEM lessons are life lessons

“If you want to win at cards,” says Tana Granack, SPARK Museum’s operations director, “don’t bring a rabbit’s foot. Learn your math and statistics.” His point is that science, technology, engineering and mathematics — those STEM disciplines you’ve probably heard so much about — are everywhere, involved in all aspects of life. They’re not boring and stodgy lessons to sleep …

Downtown Bellingham is the place to be this winter

When SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention co-founder John Jenkins bought his space on Bay Street, downtown was dead — “pretty much a ghost town,” Jenkins says. Today? Definitely not. Downtown Bellingham is thriving, full of hip restaurants, quaint shops, delightful entertainment venues and top-quality museums. Downtown Bellingham is a place for family fun, friendly get-togethers and fabulous nights out. And …