A top 40 hit emanating from your digital clock radio wakes you up. You stumble to the bathroom, flick on the lights, disengage your electric teeth-cleaning device from its holder and brush away. Not long after, you’re in the shower washing, rinsing and repeating.
Meanwhile, the intoxicating smells from the coffee pot you preset to start at 7:23am have wafted throughout the house. You make your way to the kitchen, grab a couple slices of gluten-free bread from the humming refrigerator and pop them in the toaster. While you’re waiting for your breakfast to brown, you browse through the texts that have come in overnight, change up the songs on your iPod, and contemplate the coming day. You’re not even out the door yet, and you’ve already used electricity in a vast number of ways.
Most of us go through our days without giving a second thought to the miracle of industrialized power and the many ways in which it eases and enhances our lives, but that’s not the case at SPARK, the Museum of Electrical Invention.
Formerly known as the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, the longtime center for education and enlightenment—which updated its name in early 2012 to reflect its commitment to far-ranging exploration of the scientific kind—is set to host its own coming-out party.
“Igniting the SPARK” will take place Oct. 13-14 at the titular museum located in downtown Bellingham, and the powers that be want it known that everybody’s invited.
In addition to being able to peruse the venue’s collection of artifacts that read like a Who’s Who of electrical experimentation—including everything from Leyden jars to light bulbs—there are also 1,000-plus radios to check out, scientific papers by everyone from Galileo to Benjamin Franklin, early original recordings of popular music, and, at long last, an electrical show introducing the new-and-improved space’s MegaZapper, which gets juiced up to 4 million volts and releases 10-foot arcs of “purple lightning.”
“The electrical show has been a vision of ours for many years, and we are thrilled to finally make it a reality,” museum president John Jenkins says. “It is sort of Franklin meets Frankenstein—science reality meets science fiction fun.”
According to a recent press release, elements of the show include plenty of “eye-popping machines reminiscent of Frankenstein’s laboratory” and a lightning cage designed and built by Ric Allen, a renowned sculptor known to the steampunk community.
Those visiting SPARK over the busy weekend may want to sign up in advance for the 45-minute electrical shows, which take place at 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and, on Saturday night only, at 9pm. Although admission to the venue is free, there’ll be a $5 charge for those shows—with one exception. If you come to the 6pm showings dressed as a Mad Scientist, you’ll be whisked through the door like a member of royalty.
But that’s not all. Demonstrations include taking a look at Ben Franklin’s famous kite experiment and an overview of Thomas Edison’s many accomplishments—including a sneak peek at one of the world’s only electric light bulbs, which just so happens to have been made at the hands of the inventor. Photo opportunities, kids activities, raffles and refreshments will round out the weekend of events.
“This is a great opportunity to see mind-blowing demonstrations of one-of-a-kind electrical devices that changed the world,” Director of Operations Tana Granack says. We’re not sure if that includes the electric toothbrush, but chances are good there’ll be plenty of other things to look at—and learn from.
The first rule of Ladies Night Out is: You do talk about Ladies Night Out. The second rule is that sometime during the course of the evening, you share an… more »
Don’t be alarmed if you see a large group of people whacking each other with NERF bats in Maritime Heritage Park this weekend. Plus, you’ll want to remain calm if… more »
Some people write books that are designed to transport readers out of their everyday existence and into fantastical worlds. Other scribes, however, draw upon their own experiences to share larger… more »
The winter was awfully hard on your peach trees. The apple trees aren’t looking very good, either, and your entire grape arbor could use some help.
Blame it on the… more »
Most important events—Christmas, your birthday, National Pancake Day, etc.—just get a single notation on the calendar, and the allotment of time you spend celebrating them doesn’t typically exceed 24 hours.… more »
Invisible wires control the public mind, journalist and activist John Stauber tells us. And while the propaganda-for-hire industry is nominally interested in public policy issues, its primary function is to… more »