Annual Sparks Heritage Museum’s Western Heritage Festival is scheduled for June 12th 2-7 p.m. at 814 Victorian Avenue in Sparks.
As an independent non-profit staffed primarily by volunteers, the museum maintains Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. The Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum, Inc. relies significantly on the private sector for financial support to fulfill its envisioned mission.
At the present time, The Sparks Heritage Museum is the only local history museum in Washoe County. The Museum collection focuses on the history of Sparks and the Truckee Meadows including the role played by the railroad in the development of the area. The Museum role extends beyond collecting and preserving artifacts, graphic arts and documents pertinent to Sparks heritage. Volunteers play a vibrant role in educating the community through programs like “Color Me Sparks”, an elementary school outreach project.
The Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum, Inc. was officially formed April 12, 1985 by an independent group of Sparks citizens. These hardworking volunteers set out to record the history of Sparks since its inception in 1904.
The building was designed by Frederic J. DeLongchamps, a prominent Nevada architect.
Built in 1931, the Sparks Heritage Museum building was the original site of the Washoe County Library and Justice Court – Sparks branch. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest existent government building in Sparks.
With its distinctive, red tiled roof and dramatic, semi-circular arched entry, the building is an example of the Mediterranean Revival style unique in Sparks.
The Museum is laid out to tell the story of Sparks from past to present. The story begins with an exhibit of petroglyph photographs similar to the “Rock Art Area” in the Truckee Canyon, a mining exhibit and ranching display. In the “tunnel” the creation of Sparks when an entire town was picked up and moved is depicted in photographs. There is subsequently a significant railroad exhibit and a Chinese display. The Lifestyles Exhibit depicts early Sparks with an antique living room scene, a kitchen scene, a wash room , a barber shop, a post office, a small school room and a general store. The Transportation Exhibit depicts various modes of transportation and includes a doctor’s carriage dating to 1904. Artifacts from an early Casino, historical sporting events and children’s toys are also displayed. A tribute to local military presently serving and collection of early area churches ends the story. The Changing Gallery features interesting exhibits.
Currently on display is the “Lost Mural of Ellis Island. New York processed immigrants and Nevada has descendants of those immigrants including artist Andrew Sabori. The original mural was pained by Edward Laning. The Mural will be on display until June 27, 2010 Note: The first immigrant processed through Ellis Island was transported to America aboard the S.S. Nevada. Pictured at the left is one of nineteen sections comprising the “Lost” Mural.
Other Sparks buildings that are on the National Historic Registered Buildings are
Museum Hours: Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m. The Sparks Museum is volunteer oriented and donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Consider becoming a member. While you are there visit the Museum’s Gift Shop
info@SparksMuseum.org (775) 355-1144