Spark Exhibit Opening at The Bakken Museum October 9

New exhibit utilizes renovated spaces to explore the innovation process

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Inspiration and innovation are cornerstones of our human experience. Together they form a cycle of discovery that people use to shape the world. This cycle begins with a spark. A spark can be anything that transforms someone from a consumer into a creator. They motivate us to make what we want to see. They can be intensely personal or literally global in their scale. The Spark Exhibition explores these moments to reveal a diverse and uniquely human tradition, one that fuels our wildest imaginations and satisfies our most practical concerns.

“The Spark exhibit challenges visitors to see scientific innovation as a creative process that often requires new ways of approaching everyday problems,” said The Bakken Museum President & CEO Michael Sanders. “Great innovations can be inspired by the humanities, nature, and even pop culture.”

The exhibit installation follows the opening of The Bakken Museum’s newly renovated first floor. The construction project was the museum’s first since a 12,000 square foot addition was added in 1998. Working with RSP Architects and Mortenson Construction, the renovation introduced a larger gallery, modernized education areas, and added increased accessibility and visitor amenities.

Exhibit Highlights:

  •  Innovation Inspired by Nature – walk through an immersive mural experience exploring the ways people use strategies from nature to solve human challenges.
  •  Bakkenspiel – play physical and digital musical instruments to discover computer and musical languages.
  •  Animation Station – create a stop-motion movie by photographing still images of created scenes that thread
    together into an animated sequence.
  •  Collaboration Canvas – move your body to collaborate with machines and create virtual paint strokes and splatters in this kinetic, full body interactive.
  •  Magic Book – turn the pages of this one of a kind book to bring science fiction literature to life!
  •  Bakken Booth – step in to our phone booth to hear how communication has changed over time to connect people and cultures. Keep an eye out for secret codes to the Bakken Booth hidden throughout the exhibit!
  •  Personal Prostheses 2.0 – an updated version of our popular Personal Prosthesis exhibit. Uncover how individuals inspire innovations in the field of prosthetics.

The Spark exhibit is sponsored by the Medtronic Foundation. Additional support provided by Riverbridge Partners, Great River Energy, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., and the Lillihei Family Charitable Foundation. The Spark Exhibit was created in partnership with the design firm Roto.

Special Events

Press Preview

Members of the press are invited to preview The Bakken Museum’s newest exhibit, Spark, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 8. Complimentary timed tickets are available to allow for social distancing. To register, contact Laura Whittet, The Bakken Museum Associate Director of Communications, at whittet@thebakken.org. 

Member Preview

Members of The Bakken Museum are invited to an exclusive preview of the new Spark Exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. October 3 and 4. In addition to the new exhibit, the member preview will feature Science Studio experiments and activities with Bakken Museum educators. Members receive free admission to The Bakken Museum, but must reserve timed tickets in advance to allow for social distancing. Member tickets can be purchase online at

Visitor Information

The Spark Exhibit will open to the general public on Friday, October 9. Tickets are included in the price of admission: $11 for adults, $9 for seniors (62+), $8 for students (with ID), $6 for children (ages 4-17), free for children 3 and under, and free for members of The Bakken Museum. To allow for social distancing, timed tickets are required and may be purchased online at thebakken.org/tickets. Additional COVID-19 safety measures can be found at thebakken.org/visit.

Image Downloads

The Bakken Museum and Spark Exhibit logos are available at thebakken.org/press-kit.


The Bakken Museum inspires a passion for innovation by exploring the potential for science, technology, and the humanities to make the world a better place. Located in Minneapolis, the museum features a world-renowned collection of artifacts, exceptional education programs, exhibits exploring the wonders of invention, plant medicine, technology, and science, and the Florence Bakken Medicinal Garden. For more information, visit thebakken.org. Find @thebakkenmusem on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.