Leonardo DaVinci Exhibit

Please touch. Which of these pulleys operates the easiest?
Please touch. Which of these pulleys operates the easiest?

How often do you see the words, “Please Touch” at a museum?

The Leonardo DaVinci exhibit now showing at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri has several examples of his inventions that invite guests to touch. It’s a great tour for your kids since it gives them an opportunity to learn by operating Leonardo’s simple machines.

Notice: Several of the more fragile items clearly state, “Do NOT Touch.”

What is this?
What is this? Can you touch it?

Our tour of the exhibit began with a brief video overview of the artist/inventor’s life. Davinci has fascinated me since I was a young teen. Here was a man with a huge variety of interests and numerous achievements over his lifetime—a true Renaissance man. He applied his love of mathematics to everything: science, music, inventing, engineering, and of course, painting and sculpting. The photo below right of the Vitruvian man illustrates the Golden Ratio—a mathematical theory of proportions that Leonardo applied to his work. Version 2

Although I knew Leonardo had invented some war machines, I didn’t realize how many. I didn’t remember either that he’s credited as the inventor of ball bearings. To gain an overview of Leonardo DaVinci’s times, be sure to read placard #19 at the exhibit.

The representation of Leonardo’s fresco, The Last Supper was my favorite illustration of his artistry, partly because of its size (which was impressive) and partly because of the story behind the fresco. DaVinci was experimenting once again when he made the original. This is one time his experimenting ended in disaster. Do you know why?

Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci were competitors in their day. The Last Supper was painted on one wall of a Milan monastery dining hall. Michelangelo’s friend snuck him into the room to watch as the paint flaked off the wall. The story goes that rather than revel in Leonardo’s failure, Michelangelo rebuked his friend because he recognized DaVinci’s great attempt and for once empathized with his fellow artist.

Travel Tips
• Be advised: this exhibit focuses on the inventions and machines. No original artwork is displayed.
• Carefully read the small placards placed beside each machine. “Please Touch” those with that invitation
• Some machines are quite fragile. Please “Do NOT Touch” those
• Photographs are encouraged
• The exhibit ends April 30, 2016
• Parking in front of Union Station is $5.00
• Union Station has more to offer. Here’s a link, http://www.unionstation.org/timeline
• Are those Bullet Holes in the building’s facade left from the 1933 massacre? Let me know what you find out.

Travel Light Humor
At the end of the tour, a short video illustrated the Golden Ratio. A few photos of modern items using these proportions are displayed. If you take the time to understand this ratio, be careful. You may find yourself testing everything you see by these proportions.

One last thing. Leonardo DaVinci said, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” I hope you find this joy.

Until next time…Travel Light,
©2016 SuZan Klassen

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