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 nationally registered historic Glendale Schoolhouse and an outdoor train exhibit comprised of a steam locomotive, a cupola caboose and a Pullman executive car.
The Museum is currently in the midst of a Revitalization Project designed to generate a broader base of visitors and increased usage of the museum facility both at the local and national tourism level. The nationally registered historic building, which forms the cornerstone of the Sparks Museum, was recently rehabilitated and opened a Cultural Center in November 2011 thanks to community efforts. (See 2011 Annual Report). The Museum now offers expanded Arts and Humanities programming in addition to our exhibits and collections.
The Museum depends upon memberships, donations to our foundation and the services of volunteers in order to operate. The Sale of “The Heritage of Sparks” Last Chance Joe License plates through Nevada DMV locations benefits Sparks Museum Foundation too. Revenues are also generated through our Gift Shop and the Facility Rentals for local events and workshops. We encourage you to become a Member, make a Donation or become a Volunteer so that the Sparks Museum and Cultural Center can continue to provide invaluable educational programs, as well as preserve our shared cultural heritage for future generations of our community.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum contribute to the museum through their dedicated involvement and do not receive compensation for their service on the Board.
Barbara Young – President
Eric Moody – Vice President
Dick Dreiling – Secretary
Frank Lawrence – Treasurer
Dr. Richard Simmons
The Museum is primarily operated by a community of volunteers and has only one part time employee.