Get Hands-On at Spark!Lab

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Holland Museum recently celebrated the opening of its Smithsonian Spark!Lab, which provides children and families opportunities to explore the invention process and their own inventiveness through a variety of interdisciplinary, hands-on activities.

Learn more about the new Spark!Lab at Holland Museum and why Michigan now has three of the nine Spark!Lab's in the entire country!

It's surprising to nobody in the area that West Michigan—and Michigan as a whole—is a thriving environment full of creative minds looking to better the world around them. It could explain, then, why Michigan now has three of the nine Smithsonian Spark!Lab's in the entire country, with the newest having opened on August 3, 2018, inside the Holland Museum.

Spark!Lab isn't just an opportunity for fun: Through hands-on STEAM activities, children learn about the invention process, inventors, and inventions in American history, in addition to innovations that are changing our world today. Ricki Levine, Executive Director at Holland Museum, finds this adds to the energy of the museum.

"The Holland Museum is so full of rich history that's focused on innovation and invention; it all ties in very naturally and continues to be a fun place for families to learn and explore," said Levine. "Spark!Lab will help to foster growth and inspire the children in our community—our future leaders and workforce."

Originally opened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 2008, Spark!Lab is the flagship educational initiative of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

"There's clearly such a level of pride in invention and education in the West Michigan area," said Monica Smith, Head of Exhibitions and Interpretation at Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. "Success breeds success—and I think it's important to look beyond the usual suspects like New York City or Chicago to be host to an opportunity like this. The activities kids get to work on are open-ended and not led by an instructor, making it easier for them to be innovative and inspired to take their ideas home with them."

Ideal for children ages 6 to 12, the space is designed for families and classrooms. Participants can modify the activities for adults and young children.

Already visited Spark!Lab? The learning never stops! Activities are on rotation and new every three months, so there's always an opportunity to grow and learn.

Those looking for even more engagement are in luck. Holland Museum will now be open the second Monday of every month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., free of cost. Otherwise, entry into Spark!Lab is free with admission into the museum and is included with Holland Museum membership packages.

To learn more and plan a visit, go to Holland Museum.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

Photo courtesy of Spark!Lab at Holland Museum.


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