The exhibition “Da Vinci: Machines & Robotics” will officially open at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 10 and run through May 15.
Developed by the Artisans of Florence for the museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy, along with custom pieces made specifically for the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, this exhibition brings together creations and concepts devised more than 500 years ago by scientist, inventor, and artist of the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci.
With over 60 machines, robotics, and artworks on display, many of which are interactive, the exhibition brings to life the most important and impressive designs of the original Renaissance Man, including the bicycle, spring-powered car, hang glider, helicopter and, for the first time, his robotic drummer.
The exhibition also features children’s activities, computer animations, cinema, and reproductions of some of his most famous paintings. The exhibit features award-winning educational programs, machines hand crafted from Da Vinci’s original sketches, rare facsimile codices, and a biographical documentary.
Visitors will see working models and machines carefully constructed from Da Vinci’s own drawings, notes and designs, and visitors will be able to touch and control them.
Visitors won’t need to travel to the museums, galleries and churches in Europe to get up close to the paintings for which Da Vinci became the most celebrated Renaissance artist. Included in the exhibition are actual-sized framed reproductions of some of his most famed works, including scaled versions of The Last Supper and Mona Lisa.
Complementing the exhibit, Da Vinci’s Workshop will be a dedicated space for interactivity, allowing exploration of simple machines such as gears, levers and the simple screw, as perceived through the mind and methodology of Da Vinci himself.
Throughout the workshop there will be ongoing activities that allow guests of all ages to explore their creative side. Along with these various activities there will also be scheduled instructor led workshops held for students and teachers. Schools may book a workshop class when scheduling their field trip. Some weekend workshops, for members and guests, will require reservations and have limited capacity.
“The Exploreum is thrilled to bring this exhibition to the Gulf Coast,” said Jan McKay, executive director. “We have worked directly with the Artisans of Florence and these have been made expressly for this launch in Mobile. We are also deeply grateful to Hargrove Engineers + Constructors for stepping up as our presenting sponsor. Without them, it would have been extremely difficult to bring this to Mobile.”
Exploreum educational programs, Spark Talks series, and additional special events and weekend programming will continue with topics themed around Da Vinci and his exploration of anatomy, engineering, architecture, and much more.
Among the Spark Talks scheduled are “Da Vinci in Context: An Artistic Journey Through the Renaissance” presented by Dr. Christina K. Lindeman, assistant professor of art history at the University of South Alabama at 6p.m. on March 10 as well as “The Heart of the Matter: From Da Vinci to Today; A Look at Advancements in Cardio Medical Technology,” presented by Dr. Saami Yazdani, assistant professor at the University of South Alabama in the Mechanical Engineering Department, at 6 p.m., on April 21.
In tandem with the exhibition, the Exploreum is launching an Adventure Travel Club. This unique opportunity allows individuals (or groups) to walk in the shoes of Leonardo Da Vinci by means of a nine day, custom-designed tour of Italy, including the town of Vinci. Exploreum travelers will visit the farmhouse where Da Vinci was born, the church where he was first baptized, and the Vinci Museo Leonardiano.
This exhibit is presented by Hargrove Engineers + Constructors and sponsored by AM/NS Calvert, Mobile County, WKRG, the J. L. Bedsole Foundation, and funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of South Alabama, with additional sponsorship from University of South Alabama.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is located at 65 Government Street in Downtown Mobile, Alabama.
Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday noon-5 p.m.
A three-bedroom beach condo is a perfect spot to stay and explore the Exploreum and other area attractions.