One Giant Leap Forward for the Sparks Heritage Museum

sparks in spaceThe Sparks Heritage Museum became the first Museum in Nevada to incorporate I-pad technology into their exhibits.  Thanks to a grant from the Ben Snow Foundation, the Museum has been working to create a more interactive experience which will appeal to patrons of all ages.   The first exhibit, the I-pads, will appear in the new Sparks in Space exhibit.

It is a little know fact that the rockets that got the first man on and off the moon were developed and tested right here in Spanish Springs, at the Nevada Field Laboratory, a facility operated by Rocket dyne.  In partnership with the Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada, the Sparks in Space exhibit presents an in-depth look at the US space program with an emphasis on manned space flight and the role the City of Sparks has played.   The three major topics include: “From Railroads to Rockets,” “Animals in Space,” and “The Next Generation.”

From Railroads to Rockets

Most people know Sparks began as a railroad town. Now, thanks to an oral history project conducted by Dick Dreiling, a Museum Board Member, the important role Sparks played in the development of space transportation systems is documented and on exhibit for all to learn.   Fun interactive bonuses include the new I-pads kiosks in the Space exhibit, as well as in the Museum’s Railroad Room.  Children can learn about outer space on apps astroresearched and selected by the Sparks High School Astronomy students. Visitors can have their picture taken looking like an astronaut, or try their hand at piloting a space craft and landing on the moon using the “Return to Camelot” simulator.

Animals in Space

It just so happened that the Museum Docent is the Veterinarian who supervised the mice that went to the Moon on the Apollo 17 mission –  Dr. Richard Simmonds.  Not only does he volunteer at the museum teaching visitors about Truckee Meadows history, but he is also a Challenger Center Board Member.  His passion for teaching is evident in the exhibit. Visitors can learn about various animal astronauts including dogs, mice, fish and primates, and see first-hand the prototype of the “mouse hotel” that Dr. Simmonds helped develop to care for the mice on their journey into outer space.   Interestingly, the species of mice that travelled into space exist in the deserts of Nevada and were chosen as they require very little water to survive.

Over the next six months, the Museum will offer a series of activities focusing on the different topics featured in the Sparks in Space exhibit, including dome programs, movies, poetry readings and lectures.     Blast off with your family at the Sparks Heritage Museum!

The Sparks Heritage Museum is located at 814 Victorian Avenue, Sparks on the corner of Pyramid Way.

The Museum is open  Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm to 4 pm, Tuesday to Friday 11 am to 4 pm

ADMISSION:  $5 for Adults, Children 12 and under Free.  Active Military and their families are FREE.

For more details please call (775) 355-1144.

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