There’s Nothing Like a Spark!Lab to Ignite the Imagination

Spark!Lab, a new hands-on activity center, joins the National Museum of American History

Steven Madewell's official title is interpretive exhibits coordinator, but he prefers "Resident Eccentric," a title he proudly points to on a badge he has pinned to his white lab coat.

When the National Museum of American History reopens on Friday, visitors are likely to find Madewell and Tricia Edwards, an education specialist and Spark!Lab's creator and driving force, presiding over a festival of test tubes and cannon balls, slabs of wax and strings, kites and keys, and machines that whir and liquids that bubble and smoke. Their hangout is a fabulous new hands-on activity center called, Spark!Lab.

The new center is funded by the Lemelson for the Study of Invention and Innovation, dedicated to "exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people."

Spark!Lab has got that nailed. A few days ago, Madman Madewell showed the ATM blog team around the lab and gave us a chemistry lesson on carbon dioxide. If this really gets you going, then check out's new blog, Surprising Science, and head over to the Spark!Lab this weekend.

Check out the "O Say Can You See?" blog from the American History museum.

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