In 2008, Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation opened Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History. Activities at this open space laboratory incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with art, history and creativity. Staff and volunteers aim to show kids and their families that that invention is a process, rather than a single “Ah-Ha!” moment. Spark!Lab demonstrates the central role that invention plays in American history. After its success in Washington, DC, Spark!Lab launched the Spark!Lab National Network, an active community of museum professionals that fosters inventive creativity in families in their own neighborhoods. And now, that effort is going global.
In 2012, Smithsonian brought Spark!Lab to Kyiv, Ukraine through a grant from the U.S. State Department. Tricia Edwards, Head of Education at the Lemelson Center, led her colleagues in opening Spark!Lab at Art Arsenal, a contemporary art museum located in the heart of Kyiv. More than 32,000 people attended the Spark!Lab’s opening.