Spark!Lab National Network Seeks Members :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
About Us
« Back to "Press Room" main page

Press Release


Media Only:
Kate Wiley (202) 633-3656
Michelle DelCarlo

The Spark!Lab National Network

In Spark!Lab, we believe everyone is inventive. Every day we provide opportunities for children and families to explore their inventive creativity--to create, innovate, collaborate and problem-solve. These experiences empower kids to develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed today and in the future.

The flagship Spark!Lab was opened by the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History in 2008, and was a resounding success. After seeing the impact of Spark!Lab's approach to fostering inventive creativity in kids and families, other museums began to inquire about the possibility of having their own Spark!Lab. Thus, the idea for creating a thriving community of Spark!Labs came to life.

Seeking Applicants for Membership

Typically, Network members pay an initial, two-year licensing fee of $40,000, after which they pay regular two-year renewal fees of not more than $10,000. In January 2013, the Lemelson Center received a generous gift from the Ford Motor Company Fund, which will defray the initial licensing fee of $40,000 for three Spark!Lab partners.

In light of this, we are currently seeking applications from organizations in the following areas interested in becoming part of the Spark!Lab National Network.

  • Anchorage
  • Atlanta
  • Billings, MT
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lexington
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Miami (southern Florida)
  • Nashville
  • Phoenix
  • Puerto Rico
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Benefits of Spark!Lab National Network Membership

Network members benefit from many tangible and intangible products. This includes licensed use of Smithsonian, Lemelson Center and Spark!Lab names and logos; access to Smithsonian expertise through active consultation; facilitated relationships with other Network members; and customization of activities, if desired. Additionally, members receive the following:

  • Spark!Lab activities developed by Smithsonian staff
  • All start-up supplies, including shipping of materials
  • Assistance with set-up and opening
  • Ongoing workshops and training

Responsibilities of Membership

The Lemelson Center approaches all Network memberships as reciprocal relationships. As such, Network members will be responsible for the following:

  • Quarterly reporting of Spark!Lab updates
  • Liasing with Lemleson Center staff in a timely manner to gain approval of new activities
  • Liasing with Lemelson Center staff on use of Smithsonian branding, logos and names, as well as general Spark!Lab promotion
  • Responding to inquiries and requests from other Network members

For further information or to request an application, contact Michelle DelCarlo, Spark!Lab National Network Coordinator, at Applications are due on August 19 and all applicants will be contacted by September 2.



The Smithsonian's Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people. The Center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country's most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Lemelson Center is located in the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. The nearest Metro stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian on the Orange/Blue lines. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except on Dec. 25. Admission is free.
:: Home :: About Us :: Centerpieces :: Events :: Resources :: Video & Audio ::
:: Press Room :: Blog :: Newsletter :: Site Map :: Facebook :: Flickr :: Twitter ::