Spark!Lab Coming to Holland Museum!

HOLLAND – Tinkerers, rejoice.

This summer, Holland Museum is getting a Spark!Lab, an activity-based museum exhibit known nationally that encourages children to invent and innovate.

“We have such a rich history here of invention and innovation when you think about the furniture industry, biotech, the automotive support industries,” said Ricki Levine, executive director of the museum. “The Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention workshop that allows children and families to explore the invention process.”

Construction will begin in mid-May, with a goal of opening the exhibit the first week of August. There are Spark!Labs in museums around the country through the Smithsonian and Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

According to Levine, this will be the only Spark!Lab in West Michigan; the two other Michigan locations are in Detroit and Midland. The museum has a two-year license agreement with the Smithsonian, but Levine said she doesn’t “foresee ever really closing this up.”

Ideal for children, school groups and other organizations, the Spark!Lab allows youth to solve problems by inventing new objects and technology to solve problems. Children are taken through the invention process, asked to build their invention with provided materials and then are able to test their inventions.

In Holland, activities will be based around innovation in the area, and displays within the Spark!Lab will highlight local invention.

“It will allow them to use 21st century skills — critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving — skills everyone needs in school and in the workplace,” Levine said. “There’s no technology in Spark!Lab; it’s strictly working with your hands and mind to build something.”

The Spark!Lab is funded completely through sponsorships, grants and individuals. The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs is funding the capital, as well as a grant from the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland.

Levine said she is looking for more corporate sponsors, including those which want to highlight their own innovations.

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelSydney.

Read the Holland Sentinel Article, “Spark!Lab Coming to Holland Museum” by Sydney.Smith / @hollandsentinel.com

Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:06 AM