*CANCELLED* Talking Sparkie (and other animals)

*In response to the COVID 19 pandemic this event is cancelled.

Sparkie the Talking Budgie


Wednesday 8 April

Visitor information

Following new advice in response to the COVID 19 pandemic and in line with other cultural organisations, we have taken the difficult decision to close all of our museums and galleries and the archives from 5pm on Wednesday 18 March.

This is provisionally until 1 May 2020 but we will be reviewing the situation and updating if anything changes.

Please sign up to our emails at mustseemuseums.org.uk and check our social media channels and website so we can keep you up to date with what’s going on.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this challenging time. Stay well and we look forward to welcoming you back in due course.


Flex your creativity and design and build your own talking pet to take home. The workshop will focus on circuits, science and craft. 

This family event is inspired by the 20c North East celebrity Sparkie Williams (1954–1962) the talking budgie who lived in Newcastle.

Sparkie was famous for clearly speaking over 500 words and phrases and eight nursery rhymes, and was a very popular little bird. 

About: Included in the rich diversity of sound collections we have a number of special recordings from ‘Sparkie’ who is legendary in the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums(TWAM) collections, and who you can see on display at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Over the next three years, TWAM is contributing to the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, a national partnership, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the British Library, to digitally preserve almost half a million rare and unique recordings that are threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats that can no longer be played.

TWAM will be digitally preserving approximately 10,000 recordings, which shape the rich story of the region and wider UK history, through traditional, pop and world music, drama and literature readings, oral history, local radio and wildlife sounds.