History of Organization
The Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum, Inc. was established on April 1, 1985 as an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3). The organization’s mission is to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of Sparks and the Truckee Meadows for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations. For over a quarter century the Sparks Museum has been a product of their Preserve America Community, operating almost exclusively on volunteer labor.
The Museum’s first home was a small room in the basement of City Hall, where it quickly outgrew the quarters. Early in the museum’s existence the City of Sparks recognized its historical importance and provided an empty storefront at 820 Victorian Avenue. In 1995 Washoe County recognized the significance of the project by donating the Sparks Justice of the Peace building at 814 Victorian Avenue to the City of Sparks for a museum.
Today, the two buildings house engaging exhibits which connect local community members and visitors to the rich heritage and diversity of Sparks and the Truckee Meadows. A cultural center, a small archival research library, collections storage and administrative offices are also located in the two buildings.
The Museum facility also includes the state historical marker #169 Glendale Schoolhouse and an outdoor train exhibit comprised of a steam locomotive, a cupola caboose, and a Pullman executive car.
The nationally registered historic building, which forms the cornerstone of the Museum, was rehabilitated, and opened a Cultural Center in November 2011 thanks to a community effort. The Museum now offers expanded Arts and Humanities programming in addition to our exhibits and collections.
The Sparks Museum and Cultural Center shares resources to enrich students’ understanding of the world around them. We accomplish this through the following:
Museum Tours – guided tours of the Museum, the Train and the one room Glendale Schoolhouse are offered to school groups Free of Charge. Tours can be designed to fit specific curriculum needs or interests.
Tours may be booked Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Reservations are required. For school groups, at least one adult per six students is required.
To arrange, call (775) 355-1144.
Changing Gallery features unique displays focusing on the arts, sciences, history, and the rich diversity of the region and its people.
A variety of educational programs for adults and families are offered throughout the year.
The Museum depends upon membership fees, donations and the service volunteers in order to operate. The Sparks Heritage Museum does not receive city, state or federal funding for daily operations. Revenues are generated through our Gift Shop and the facility rentals. We encourage you to become a member, make a donation or become a volunteer so that we can continue to provide invaluable educational services to the community, as well as preserve our shared heritage for future generations.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum volunteer their time and consideration of the Sparks Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in the community.
Richard Simmonds – President
Eric Moody – Vice President
Frank Lawrence – Treasurer
Dick Dreiling – Secretary
Executive Director – Dr. Christine Johnson
Digital Media & Communications Manager – Jessica Johnson