New MOST Exhibit Shows Off da Vinci's Engineering Skills, Some Predicting the Future

Feb 15, 2017

Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is famous for his paintings of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.  But what many might overlook is he was an inventor ahead of his time. The Museum of Science and Technology in Armory Square opened a permanent exhibit over the weekend on National Inventors Day displaying da Vinci’s engineering drawings and models. Senior Director Kevin Lucas says the exhibit was recently on tour and it has found its permanent ho­me at the MOST.

“Most of the smaller models you see and the larger center models are the original exhibit.  We’ve augmented it with some of our own things like the da Vinci’s drawing table, the setting of da Vinci’s workshop.”

Lucas says da Vinci was the definition of a Renaissance man: a painter, sculptor, and an inventor.  Lucas mentions many of the models in the exhibition have been catalyst to many of today’s technological advancements.

This design imagines a parachute showing Da Vinci's capacity to figure out physics
Credit Maria Welych/MOST.org

“There’s thousands of ways that he foresaw the technologies that we use today, things like, the first large exhibit there is actually a car.  He conceived of the idea of a self-propelled car long before, obviously, it came into being.”

MOST President Toni Martin says with the increasing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, she hopes the da Vinci exhibit will serve an educational purpose to children.

Credit Maria Welych/MOST.org

“At the most we are especially well-prepared to offer STEM education in an informal setting.  An exhibit like this can show children how things work in a way that a book never can.” 

The exhibition includes 16 of da Vinci’s models and drawings and is free with general admission.