“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 about it, I see that it was about the best 90 minutes of my life, too.”
Why give to a museum?
Learning. Education. Growth. Transformation. The best 90 minutes of a child’s life.
Museums like SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention are hallowed places of discovery. They are places where the youthful embers of curiosity can be ignited into lifelong passions with the potential to shape the world around us.
“Ninety minutes of SPARK Science stacks up against any program anywhere, especially when attempting to get people interested and excited about science,” Granack says.
SPARK Museum, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping today’s youth develop their minds into the creative, analytical and confident brains they’ll need in tomorrow’s world.
To do so, it relies on the support of the community.
“The only complaint SPARK gets is there is not more of us,” Granack says. “People love what we do and want more. More interactive galleries, more workshops, more after-school programs, more demonstrations, more fun educational events. SPARK is the little engine that does, all year ‘round, running on a spectacular collection, devoted volunteers, museum memberships and a shoestring budget.”
STEM education for tomorrow’s leaders
STEM education — that which teaches science, technology, engineering and math — lays a foundation for what the world will become in the next generation.
“In our ever-changing world, STEM education has never been more necessary,” argues philanthropy hub Giving Compass. “To solve the next wave of problems that society faces, we need a generation that has mastered STEM.”
At SPARK, we believe it is important to contribute to ensuring that coming generations master STEM knowledge. What’s more, the skills that are taught in STEM education offer lifetime benefits, even for students who don’t find their careers in STEM fields.
“We know that everyone can learn to think like a scientist,” Granack says. “Everyone can learn to have that ability, and through it they have access to a lifetime of learning.”
One way SPARK inspires youth is through what we call “Science that Sticks.” These are memorable and thought-provoking demonstrations that teach simple, powerful lessons rooted in the history of discovery and invention.
Another way is by making science interesting for everyone, regardless of their age — for all who visit, young and old.
“We do this through such elements as static charges and floating tinsel, magnets, plucking bits of sound out of thin air, indoor bolts of loose electricity insidiously looking at you for a path into the earth,” Granack says. “Everybody makes it, everybody experiences it, everybody can understand it, and in doing so, understand ourselves and the real world we live in. You don’t need a Ph.D. in physics to appreciate light from dark. Here at SPARK, we take you from a candle-lit world to more light than you can handle!”
That is the SPARK experience in a nutshell. Taking the properties of electricity, wrapping them in the wonder of discovery and invention, and presenting them for visitors in ways that delight and inspire a life of curiosity and continuous learning.
How your donation to one Whatcom County nonprofit can help
Signing up for a recurring donation to SPARK will help make it possible for kids and families to attend more educational, life-enriching, maybe even mind-blowing programs and activities in Bellingham: after-school programs, early release workshops, weekend science events and more. Gifts help fund our static electricity lab, where budding scientists can explore the seeming magic of static electricity. And speaking of exploring — gifts also keep SPARK’s many interactive exhibits in tip-top shape, from the Morse telegraph device to the theremin to the Egg of Columbus.
Know who else brings kids to SPARK Museum? Teachers. We love collaborating with teachers! Your recurring donation to SPARK Museum will help support initiatives such as Beyond the Classroom, which brings K–12 educators to SPARK from all over Whatcom County, Skagit County and even Washington state to work toward creating excellent educational experiences outside the classroom. Gifts to SPARK also help fund staff members to guide field trips for local schools, introducing hundreds of youth to the wonders and delight of science who otherwise might not get that chance.
SPARK Museum relies on the generosity of donors, corporate and community partners, members and volunteers to continue providing electrifying experiences for children and all members of the Bellingham/Whatcom County community and beyond. With your gift, the museum can expand existing programs, create new partnerships and develop fun, innovative and high-quality learning experiences for kids of all ages.
SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention would greatly appreciate your support for the work we do. To consider a recurring or one-time gift, please visit our donations page.