Meet Marty Bienstock, Spark!Lab docent

You may have seen Lemelson Center docents in action in the lab; now learn how they came to be Smithsonian volunteers. Allow us to introduce you to one of the dynamic members of our Spark!Lab staff: Marty Bienstock.

Marty Bienstock

Q: What are your career and educational backgrounds?
A: I have a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, and worked in that field for almost 37 years.

Q: What brought you to the Lemelson Center?
A: When I retired four years ago, I knew I wanted to find a creative way to spend my newfound free time. I live in the area and have always been fond of the Smithsonian, and of course I love American history and science. As a result, I’ve been a volunteer in the Spark!Lab for two years.

Q: What do your day-to-day duties in the Spark!Lab entail?
A: When I arrive in the morning, I help tidy up the lab and set up for the day’s experiments. There is always something new and exciting going on in the lab that is different from the week before, so it’s important that I check in to see what those differences are. Once the day gets going, I help the children with experiments.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of working here in the Spark!Lab?
A: I enjoy interacting with the kids. Some of them have a real interest in science and I like working with them and encouraging that interest. I try to provide them with a positive experience so that when they go home they think “science is fun!”

Q: What makes Spark!Lab the perfect place for you?
A: Working in Spark!Lab is a great way for me to implement my experience in science and innovation, and hopefully share my passion with others!

Elizabeth Dowdle is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs at the National Museum of American History.

Editor’s note: Spark!Lab relies on volunteers to stay open and running smoothly. Please e-mail us at for more information about how you can become a volunteer. If you’re interested in volunteering elsewhere in the museum, please check out our Volunteer Opportunities. Maybe our next volunteer profile post will be about you!