“Da Vinci Inventions,” currently on exhibit in the Juliet Art Museum at the Clay Center, has truly opened the eyes of patrons to the wonderful breadth of Leonardo Da Vinci’s talent. Many people know about Da Vinci the artist, but this particular exhibit demonstrates — in a very interactive way — the full scope of his remarkable genius as an inventor, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, musician and architect.
An extensive range of unique pieces includes examples of his machine inventions and entertaining animations of Da Vinci’s most notable Renaissance works. Visitors can push, pull, crank and interact with many of these exhibits for a hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them.
“This exhibition was created by Grande Exhibitions to celebrate Leonardo Da Vinci’s great works and place them all together in a single location, where people can come and marvel at the brilliance of this great mind,” said Jessica O’Hearn, artistic curator of Juliet Art Museum. “We’ve been delighted to bring this exceptional project to the Juliet Art Museum at the Clay Center,”
“‘Da Vinci Inventions’ has offered visitors of all ages and backgrounds an entertaining, educational and enlightening experience, whether they are art and history aficionados or seeing Da Vinci’s work for the first time.”
As part of this exhibition, the Clay Center has offered programmatic enhancements in the form of lectures, demonstrations, hands-on workshops and more to pair with the exhibit.
“We’ve been fortunate to partner with speakers like Dr. George Bent of Washington & Lee University, chef Leah Gore and featured speaker Dr. Bernard Shultz of West Virginia University,” O’Hearn said.
In addition to this adult programming, the Clay Center has offered monthly “Da Vinci Studio Days,” which have allowed students the materials and guidance to re-enact the works of Da Vinci by building bridges, exploring aeronautics and taking inspiration from his artistic works to recreate their own interpretations.
Students have been particularly enthused by this exhibition. After viewing the exhibit with his upper elementary class from Mountaineer Montessori School, student Chace returned home asking for a leather-bound journal to use to hold sketches of his inventions. His enthusiasm was so great that he returned later with his father to revisit the exhibition.
His father, David Boland, described “Da Vinci Inventions” as one of the most well-designed exhibits he’s experienced. “I was surprised how much I learned about Da Vinci’s life, interests and talent. To see how the hands-on exhibit inspired my son in terms of enthusiasm for solving problems and sketching possibilities was priceless.”
Families are not the only guests taking note of this exhibition. Teachers are also thrilled with the exhibition and how it enhances what students are learning in the classroom.
“As a teacher of middle school students, I thought the exhibit catered to diverse interests visually and intellectually. It was a beautiful exhibit, inviting students to crank gears and experiment with pull-ups. Some students will never have such a terrific opportunity to see such an example of creative problem solving in one place,” Mountaineer Montessori School teacher Sarah Halstead said.
Limited time is available to view the “Da Vinci Inventions” exhibition. The collection is on display until March 3, and access is included in admission to the museum. Admission is $9 for adults and $7.50 for students and children.
The Clay Center is currently offering docent-led tours of this exhibition on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m., as well as a curator-led tour Fridays at noon. These tours are included in the price of admission.
For more information about “Da Vinci Inventions,” upcoming exhibitions and other programming, visit the Clay Center online at theclaycenter.org or call the box office at 304-561-3570.