From SPARK: Thank you for the incredible support

What a community! It is a true honor for us at SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention to serve the Whatcom County community from our space here on Bay Street in downtown Bellingham.

SPARK Museum might be shuttered temporarily, but please know that we’re working hard behind these closed doors (and from our computers at home) to ensure that our nonprofit museum reopens with the service and programs that the Whatcom County community deserves.

While that is underway, we also wanted to take some time to look back over the past year and thank our wonderful community for their ongoing support of SPARK Museum and science education in Bellingham.

Ignite the Night 2020 was a grand success.

A group of people sitting in front of a crowd

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First, we wanted to offer our sincere thanks to the community for the wonderful fundraiser at the end of February, held at Settlemyer Hall in Bellingham.

In all, 130 attendees came and helped raise funds to create accessible and high-quality educational experiences. Ignite the Night 2020 was SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention’s most successful fundraiser to date.

That success is 100% due to our amazing sponsors (shout out to BP, SPIE, Franklin Academy and Alcoa Intalco Works), dessert dash donors, auction/raffle donors, anonymous donors (you know who you are!), community supporters and attendees. THANK YOU. Truly, your support means the world to us.

Given that the event was held on Leap Day (Feb. 29), we took the opportunity to look back and celebrate some SPARK’s recent achievements and the people who have made that possible.

SPARK honored outgoing board of directors chair Wendy Eickmeyer for her outstanding service in moving SPARK Museum forward in many ways, including establishing our annual fundraiser three years ago.

Arlie Norman also was honored for his years on our board of directors. Arlie, who was the founding dean of the College of Sciences and Technology at Western Washington University, has been integral in getting SPARK to where it is today.

Three memorial honorees also were featured at Ignite the Night: Bob Foote, Joe Coons and Joe Yaver — three men who through the years have believed in and supported the museum.

And then there was the SPARK Award, presented this year to Jamie Yoos, a nationaly recognized chemistry teacher at Bellingham High School.

“We selected Jamie Yoos for his unwavering commitment to the students of this community and his ‘science for all’ philosophy,” said John Jenkins, SPARK Museum’s president and CEO.

In addition to the personal recognitions, guests at Ignite the Night enjoyed a raffle and auction of items donated by our incredible community through the efforts of SPARK’s board of directors and volunteers.

SPARK highlights from the past year.

2019 was a good year for SPARK Museum. Here’s a look at some recent highlights:

  • Nearly 20,000 people visited SPARK Museum.
  • At least 2,500 youth came to SPARK on school field trips.
  • SPARK Museum was named the Tourism Business of the Year and was presented with an award by Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.
  • SPARK Museum has been featured as the top indoor attraction in Bellingham, according to Tripadvisor.
  • Visitors to SPARK Museum from at least 50 miles away spend an estimated $1 million to 1.5 million in the Bellingham area, including on lodging, dining and other spending around town.

Your support continues to mean a great deal to SPARK.

Support for SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention — through events like Ignite the Night, sponsorships and online donations — allows the museum to stay in operation during good times and tough times. Your giving also allows us to offer support to our local educators and students, both inside and outside the classroom.

All of us — from museums to schools to business owners to families — have been impacted greatly by the coronavirus. We are working diligently to ensure that we return the community’s support in whatever way possible. Like many local businesses, we are following guidance from Gov. Jay Inslee and staying closed to the public to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.

During the closure, we’re working hard to build digital content to help educators teach science at a distance and to create virtual visits to the museum to help replace canceled field trips and other visits to SPARK. Look for more on that soon!

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