Leonardo da Vinci’s overflowing imagination and practical innovation will be on display at Gray Roots


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From elaborate flying machines to seemingly simple and now ubiquitous automation tools, some of Leonardo da Vinci’s most innovative inventions will soon be on display at the Gray Roots Museum and Archives.

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The Da Vinci Machines in Motion exhibit kicks off at Gray Roots on Sunday.

The exhibit, created by Worldwide Museum Activities (WMA) and curated by Evergreen Exhibitions, features an interactive display of replica machines, built to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous manual.

Some 6,000 pages of these notebooks have survived, and at the Machines in Motion exhibit, screens feature drawings and instructions taken from Da Vinci’s archives to help explain the function and science behind the piece.

The life-size machines were designed by a modern team of scientists and craftsmen who used techniques and materials used in da Vinci’s time.

Museum curator Sim Salata said attendees will be able to interact with the exhibits and get a unique look into the mind of one of the world’s best-known luminaries of art and innovation.

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Machines on display include an interactive knight that moves when a laser motion sensor is triggered. Da Vinci’s automation tools, such as a machine that automates a hammer hitting an anvil like a blacksmith would, or two automated rollers used to shape metal – a machine still in use today. And from seemingly simple but ingenious to fantastical, Da Vinci’s Flapping Bird and other flying machines show how scientist and engineer have come together with artist and dreamer.

“Machines in Motion is a real hit,” said museum director Jill Paterson. “Full of beautifully crafted and practical wooden machinery, it’s a delight not only to see, but to engage with. It’s rare to see an interactive exhibit of this scale, and we know that visitors of all ages will be delighted to operate the machines of Leonardo da Vinci.”

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The exhibition is organized in four parts, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s study of the elements of nature: earth, water, air and fire. Highlights include a rotating crane, flying machines and a hydraulic water saw.

The exhibit offers an engaging combination of education and entertainment while exploring history, science, mechanics and innovation, according to a statement.

Along with the Machines in Motion exhibit, Seven Ages of the Bicycle features historic bicycles, velocipedes, and historic cycling artifacts on loan from the Huron Bicycle Museum in Kincardine.

The carefully curated exhibit shows the evolutionary process that led to the modern bicycles used today.

For more information, visit www.greyroots.com.

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