Project Description

Past Exhibition

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.


Inventions by Leonardo da Vinci featured in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion include, top left, the bicycle-ornithopter; center, armored car; and top right, ornithopter with semi-fixed wing.


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.