Discovery Museums adds three interactive da Vinci-inspired outdoor exhibits

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine
The Bridge at the Discovery Museum.

The Discovery Museum in Acton unveiled three new outdoor exhibitsinspired by thelife and work of Leonardo da Vinci, allowing visitors to physically interact with the inventor's ingenious designs.

The new exhibits include: 

The Lever: At over 12’ 5” tall, this giant kinetic lever lets visitors explore the principle of leverage by trying to lift a 4’ basket swing—perhaps holding friends or family members—from three different leverage points across a 20’ beam. As an inventor and engineer, Leonardo da Vinci studied simple machines such as the lever, often using them as the building blocks for his innovative machine designs. 

Vitruvian Man: The 6’ tall bronze sculpture of one of da Vinci’s most famous drawings helps visitors explore the concepts of proportion and ratios through comparisons of the length of different body parts. 

The Bridge: da Vinci designed an ingenious self-supporting bridge that could be built without nails, ropes, or other fasteners, relying on friction and gravity to allow users to cross safely. The Museum’s model of the bridge is 4’ long and 3’ wide, a great size for visitors to climb. 

“Fueled by his own curiosity and without formal schooling, da Vinci created complex and innovative designs out of small-scale observations and long-term explorations,” said BrindhaMuniappan, senior director of the visitor experience at Discovery Museum. “We have brought some of da Vinci’s ideas into three-dimensional form to enable visitors to go beyond visual enjoyment of his work to physically interacting with his designs.” 

The new outdoor exhibits and “Discover da Vinci” online resource page are part of the Museum’s celebration of da Vinci’s work and impact, joining the da VinciWorkshop, created when the Museum opened its all-new building in March 2018.

Theda Vinci Workshopis an open-ended workspace for using tools, tinkering, design, and inventing using recycled materials, off-the-shelf supplies, tools, and technology. It includes a working model of da Vinci’s ornithopter—a machine he designed to test human flight—and a WindTable where visitors can test their own designs of things that can fly. 

The Lever at the Discovery Museum.