Last weekend Jake and I took Eliza to Da Vinci: The Exhibition, a traveling exhibit at Union Station.
It was a wonderful testament to Da Vinci’s genius, with exhibits separated into different areas of study: flight, physics, architecture and city planning, exploration, music, warfare, anatomy, and fine art.
The exhibition took sketches and plans from Da Vinci’s many codices and imagined them in real forms.
It was so interesting to see Da Vinci’s ideas produced at a grand scale, with information on how he came up with his ideas through study of nature or improvement upon existing inventions, what was and wasn’t successful, and how his working ideas were put to use during his time.
Eliza loved the interactive elements. Some of the machines were testable, and it was so fun for her to feel and observe them. She loves engineering, so at once being able to explore the history of these inventions and the principles of physics that make the machines work was great for her (I’m assuming something in our house will be working with a multiple pulley system in no time).
There was also an optional smart phone audio tour (bring headphones!), so she and Jake could be seen walking close, sharing earbuds, while I wandered around and read posters and placards instead.
I loved that many parts of the exhibit were specifically for kids. It is so much easier to spend a long time walking, looking, and learning if kids can get their hands on some action periodically.
I learned so much. Da Vinci made forays into so many more areas of study that I’d known–even inventing an early scuba suit!
I also had no idea he made so many military inventions–including a scythe lined horse cart to protect supply horses, an easily deconstructible bridges, and this tank!
You can also see a screen in the background–this was a rich multi-media experience.
The scale of the art replicas was amazing, as was the background information about why and how each piece was created, its history in the world (including refurbishment and ownership), and modern ways of finding out more about the paintings, like using x-ray technology to learn which portion of a piece was created by Da Vinci and which portions were made by his mentor.
We also had fun finding the Golden Ratio in his work and in modern works of art and advertising. And of course, no Da Vinci exhibit trip is complete without trying your had at the Mona Lisa smile.
This was such a rich and inspiring experience. I can’t wait to use the exhibit to teach Eliza even more about Da Vinci and some of the things he studied!
Have you visited any exhibits about a single artist or inventor you loved? What were they about? What was your favorite part?