The Montshire Museum of Science is an interactive science center in Norwich, Vermont, with more than 150 hands-on exhibits relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. Outdoors, visitors can explore nature trails and exhibits on wind, water, and sound in David Goudy Science Park. Visiting exhibitions, educational programs, and special events are offered throughout the year.
This Summer, the Montshire Presents “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion,” a Special Exhibition Celebrating Innovation and Imagination
This summer, the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont celebrates creativity, ingenuity, and great feats of engineering through the special exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion, opening Saturday, May 28, on Memorial Day weekend.
Leonardo da Vinci, the celebrated thinker of the Renaissance, is widely considered a leading figure of invention and creativity. His concepts and ideas have informed and inspired generations of engineers, architects, and artists, and his designs are the precursors of many modern machines and devices, including the glider, parachute, bicycle, and helicopter.
Today, da Vinci’s legacy of innovation is studied in the machines, drawings, and designs he left for us to construct and decode. Now, through Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion, Montshire visitors will have the chance to see the early forms of da Vinci’s machines up close, touch them, and set them in motion during this renowned international exhibition’s first visit to Northern New England.
Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion is a unique interactive experience with full-size machines, constructed after an in-depth study of da Vinci’s designs by a group of scientists and skilled craftsmen. The materials utilized to create these machine replicas are the same items available during the Renaissance and the ones proposed by da Vinci himself. Using wood, rope, and glue, the materials were crafted by hand, faithfully adhering to da Vinci’s instructions and using tools of the time rather than modern industrial implements.
This unique exhibition is organized into four parts, based on da Vinci’s study of the elements of nature: earth, water, air and fire.
- Earth – Includes da Vinci’s early renditions of a printing press, a gear wheel, and even a working robot, invented centuries before the technological revolution.
- Water – Includes the hydraulic water saw and the webbed glove, intended to accelerate swimming and resembling today’s flipper.
- Air – Includes models of flying machines designed centuries before people soared through the skies, such as an ornithopter — a device with mechanical wings that enabled a person to fly and also served as the precursor of today’s hang glider.
- Fire – Includes machines powered by fire or motion, such as the mortar gun and the flywheel.
Visitors can explore the power of imagination and the process of invention at this renowned international exhibition’s first visit to Northern New England, while connecting the concepts of da Vinci’s machines to the Montshire’s ongoing programs and exhibits that focus on physics, engineering, mechanics, and design. These additional Montshire experiences demonstrate key science concepts, invite open-ended creation, and provide engineering opportunities that allow even the youngest visitors to engage in exciting and enjoyable STEM-based learning.
- Rigamajig is a large-scale building experience that inspires creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills through imaginative hands-on play.
- A Montshire favorite, Big Blue Blocks, offers massive blocks that provide endless opportunities for innovative thinking and creation.
- Daily guided hands-on family and group activities at the Science Discovery Lab apply engineering concepts from Machines in Motion and encourage further investigations through interactive projects and experiments.
Today, engineering and technological literacy is critical in meeting the educational needs of children. Engineering concepts and skills are applied in everyday life, from constructing a bridge to developing an app.
“Young learners have a natural fascination with how things work, and are often engaged in building or taking objects apart,” says Montshire Executive Director Lara Litchfield-Kimber. “Introducing engineering concepts at an early age can help children learn to think through complex problems, identify challenges, collaborate with others, embrace creativity to develop solutions, and understand the value in trial and error — ultimately strengthening problem-solving skills, cultivating curious minds, and empowering the innovators of tomorrow.”
This summer, the Montshire offers an engineering experience that explores a range of ideas, from examining the complex machines of da Vinci to applying STEM concepts to hands-on activities in a way that makes science engaging and enjoyable for all ages, including our youngest learners.
Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion opens Saturday, May 28 and closes on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. It was created by Worldwide Museum Activities (WMA) and organized by Evergreen Exhibitions.
During the summer, the Montshire is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. For visitor information, including admission and hours of operation, visit www.montshire.org.
Evergreen Exhibitions, founded in 1992, is one of the world’s premier providers of traveling museum exhibits. Evergreen conceptualizes, designs, produces, markets and tours its exhibits, primarily in science, natural history and children’s museums. The exhibits use educational concepts to create high quality, immersive, multi-sensory, entertaining and educational experiences for family audiences. More than 60 million people worldwide have enjoyed an Evergreen Exhibitions experience. More information on other exhibit offerings can be found at www.evergreenexhibitions.com.
Worldwide Museum Activities (WMA) was founded in Florence by three leading scientists, joined together to pursue the dream to rebuild as perfect as possible replicas of the machinery described in Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and create a museum of Leonardo’s Machines. This project is a result of in depth research and study of Leonardo’s codes, his personality and his way of thinking.