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“Fun for a retro nerd, but stops too early”

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
Ranked #8 of 82 things to do in Bellingham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention offers an exciting and educational experience for audiences of all ages. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage are featured in a world-class collection of unique objects including the giant "MegaZapper" Tesla Coil which produces nine-foot lightning bolts! The Spark Museum displays the inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history.
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Fun for a retro nerd, but stops too early”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

I liked seeing the static electricity machines, the old tubes and tube radios, etc. We went to the demo which was a bit slow (and full of scientific disinformation, very strange, it also uses old EE terms that were misunderstood by the audience, e.g. "the electricity flows over my body" which makes it sound like water being deflected rather than current conducted).
There is nothing about the transition from tubes to transistors (even what a transistor is) to ICs. Storage stops at Leyden jars and batteries.
So, between the science disinformation and ending the story in 1920s, it's a very poor instructional musuem.

Visited December 2013
Thank astrolake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Carnation, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
185 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Great Show”
Reviewed November 27, 2013 via mobile

We were interested and accidently entered this museum 10 minutes before a showing of their coils. The museum was cool (to me, a Tesla fan already) and had some really neat stuff (Edison's first bilb, Vandergraff generator) but the coil demonstration is not to be missed. If you like lightning'you'll enjoy. If you are a radio/rlectro fan this is Disneyland.

Visited November 2013
Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Plenty to see”
Reviewed November 13, 2013

The Spark Museum used to be the old Radio Museum but boy, with the full remodel, it's definitely a lot more fun. For an additional fee you can be shut into a faraday cage and have a massive bolt of electricity fired toward you: a friend and I did this and it was fascinating, a bit of an adrenalin rush and VERY LOUD. The docents were well-informed and more than happy to share information. They played various recording devices for us from Edison wax cylinders and pierced metal disks to the first hi-fi set. The collection of home radio cases is a lesson in the history of home decoration, wartime thrift and the taste of the average person down the years. There is a small set showcasing the first telegraphs and incidentally the Titanic. They also have a Theremin you can play. It's a bizarre instrument and the kids adored the crazy sounds it makes. There is a somewhat static set piece that explains Franklin and electricity but it moves on quickly with well-lit cases of collected radio gear from ages past. One entire stair wall is nothing but tubes. A voice-receptive oscilloscope was set up for anyone wanting to see their voice make wave forms, which was also popular with kids. Overall, it's a great museum as long as you enjoy museums (younger kids might be bored with the main floor and people with no real interest in history or technical concerns will probably be bored too.)

Visited February 2013
Thank EmmaSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A fascinating place”
Reviewed November 11, 2013

A really amazing place. The docents are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, willing to spend a lot of time with you guiding you through rooms of fascinating inventions and technology. You can kind of feel it's a labor of love. Definitely worth it. My son and I will be back.

Visited November 2013
Thank Raincoaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pender Island
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2013

I have to admit I wasn't expecting much, maybe a few old radios but I was amazed by the collection and by the docents' sharing of knowledge. There'r room after room of fascinating electrical appliances and inventions, some great educational displays and community radio station in the back. Highly recommended!

Visited October 2013
Thank keinnon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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