September 23, 2020

Science Center opens da Vinci exhibit

The holistic approach of the exhibit gives visitors a better look into who da Vinci was as a creator.

“It takes us back into history,” Attarian said.

The Saint Louis Science Center unveiled “Da Vinci The Exhibition,” on Jan. 11, a new exhibit featuring the creative works of Leonardo da Vinci. Replicas of his most famous inventions and artworks will line the walls of the Science Center through April 19.

Amanda Attarian, the supervisor for the special exhibitions department, oversees the operations of the da Vinci exhibit. In her position, Attarian walks the gallery to ensure that the needs of the guests are being met. Through research and attention, she is able to answer questions and provide an in-depth guide to the exhibit.

“It takes us back into history,” Attarian said.

This particular exhibit is targeted for ages 9 and older. Detailed models of da Vinci’s original glider and revolving crane cater to the veteran pilot or engineer, but can still be enjoyed by people of all ages.

“This is a gateway into more of what he studied,” Attarian said.

There are a few interactive components that encourage students to think back on history. Featured items like “The Armoured Tank” are fully immersive. Students are able to climb inside the tank and explore the different components as they were used during Da Vinci’s lifetime. The Science Center’s hands-on approach allows students to explore beyond the surface of what they see on the outside.

“It prompts them to keep that continuous education and learning moving forward,” Attarian said.

Despite the focus on STEM, the exhibit also offers something for those more familiar with da Vinci’s masterpieces and engineers alike. The tour gives audiences detailed examples of artistic works such as “The Last Supper” and “Saint John the Baptist.” For the more science-driven audience, they have on display inventions such as the catapult and steam cannon.

Science center opens da Vinci Exhibit

Viewers admire a replica of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci at the St. Louis Science Center’s new exhibit, “Da Vinci The Exhibition” on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Photo by Abby Frye.

The holistic approach of the exhibit gives visitors a better look into who da Vinci was as a creator. Attarian helps guests take a deeper look into the creative life of da Vinci. She notes that the guests will leave with an understanding of not only his inventions but also the reasoning and process behind their creation.

St. Louisian Janice Friedrich, was shocked by the number of things she did not know about da Vinci. She walked into the exhibit thinking of him only as a painter but left with a whole new perspective on his contributions to history.

“It was amazing to read the articles about all the things that he invented and did in his lifetime,” Freidrich said, “It was very interesting to see the things he developed which we use in our daily life today.”

Much like da Vinci, the Science Center focuses on visual learning. Viewers are fully immersed in the visual learning experience.

“He was really keen on having his sight be his avenue for knowledge,” Attarian said.

The staff is encouraged to educate themselves on the ins and outs of the new exhibit.
Guests should feel comfortable engaging with the exhibit and asking questions. As the public is learning, the staff at the Science Center are learning how to better prepare for the next exhibit.

“We [the staff] can also learn and we can grow together as a community,” Attarian said.

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