Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion
On view February 9 through September 8, 2019
Experience the genius of artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci at Berkshire Museum! Visitors of all ages are invited to test Leonardo’s inventions, step inside a wooden battle tank, discover his flying machines including the ornithopter and flying bicycle, and more.
See the innovations of Leonardo da Vinci first-hand, exploring 40 full-size, true-to-design working models of his Renaissance inventions, and the 500-year-old drawings used to construct them. Each mechanism was meticulously built by a group of scientists and skilled artisans in collaboration with the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, Italy, and the artist’s instructions were carried out using the tools, techniques, and materials that were available during his era.
The 40 extraordinary machines in the exhibition are grouped into four sections, based upon their relevance to the four elements – fire, water, earth, and air – which held a strong fascination for Leonardo da Vinci.
Under “Fire,” we find machines for military use, such as the cannon and machine gun. Highlights include an armored vehicle, a moving wooden battle tank large enough for visitors to step inside. The “Water” section features machines that use water pressure to relay energy as well as equipment intended to enable a man to walk on water and a large webbed glove, similar to a flipper, meant to accelerate swimming. Under “Earth,” we find inventions like the crane, the printing press, the oil press, theatrical machines, and even a robot. Leonardo was famously fascinated by flight, and in the “Air” category visitors will discover several models of flying machines, from the ornithopter (a device with mechanical wings), to an early type of hang glider, a parachute, and a flying bicycle.
Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion is a Feigenbaum Innovative Experience, generously sponsored by the Feigenbaum Foundation.
Sign up today for our newest educator-led gallery program: da Vinci Machines, featuring hands-on experimentation and guided exploration designed to introduce and reinforce basic principles of physics and engineering. Your students will have an opportunity to design and build their own simple machines during this exciting new program available February 11 through September 6, 2019.