The Science Museum of Virginia debuts “Da Vinci Alive” featuring the country’s first showing of a new, multi-media experience. Charles Fishburne of 88.9 WCVE FM explores the exhibition with Rich Conti, Chief Wonder Officer, The Science Museum of Virginia.
Rich Conti, Chief Wonder officer, The Science Museum of Virginia: SENSORY4 is really one of the reasons we wanted to bring the exhibition here to Richmond in that it lets you see da Vinci in a much different way. You can actually see the art work up close and see these machines all animated and set to music. That’s a very different way, a very contemporary way to experience Leonardo. This is the Dewey Gottwald Center, a brand-new addition to The Science Museum of Virginia, named after Dewey Gottwald who was the patriarch of a very important, prominent Richmond family. Someone who was really a futurist and well ahead of his time.
Charles Fishburne: Leonardo da Vinci was many things…but his Mona Lisa set him apart as an artist…for the ages.
Rich Conti: So we are in a section now that is about the Mona Lisa. A lot of people have seen the Mona Lisa and they think they have a good feel for it. Of course, we’ve got a replica of the Mona Lisa, but our replica actually shows you what it looks like on the back side of the painting. You’ve got the front side…if you come around the back, you can actually see where the frame was actually broken and repaired. You can see where the name of the painting was actually written on it by the loading dock at the Louvre, you see the number of where it hung. This painting was actually hung in Napoleon’s bathroom for a while and had a little bit of water damage. So it is just kind of interesting to thing about an incredible work of art like that and some of its history on its backside.
Charles Fishburne: As fascinating as the Mona Lisa is, there is much more to see at the da Vinci exhibition. He was a scientist, an inventor, a visionary, with dreams…and drawings, of flying machines…automobiles…deep sea diving equipment…bicycles…and war machines…
Rich Conti: The War Machines helped pay the bills. And so, at the end of the day, you’ve got to pay the bill…and so he had some really interesting ideas, and not all of them were there to hurt people. There were ideas for bridges and hydraulics and things that might have been used in a military operation…but certainly was something that was a little bit surprising when you see all the different things that were there in the exhibit.
Charles Fishburne: “Da Vinci Alive- The Experience” is playing now, through September 5th.
Rich Conti: People sometimes think of The Science Museum as a place just for kids but we are really for families and we think we have something for everyone. It’s a very high-quality experience. In a reasonably short amount of time you can walk away with a much greater understanding of one of the geniuses of human history. Ideally, we hope you are inspired to maybe look at things a bit differently, which is, again, really what we are all about. When you look up at the night sky, or you’re working in your backyard, or you’re even in your kitchen making dinner, you’ll think about thinks differently because of what you learned from someone like Leonardo or something you saw at The Science Museum.
For more information, visit Da Vinci Alive-The Experience.