Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion

you were encouraged, to touch the pieces

Machines in MotionIn the Berkshires, we had a hearty and complicated breakfast involving a dozen people. Our daughter was invited to go out with her parents and look at some art. She didn’t want to leave the company of her three cousins, two of whom have since already gone off for their first year of college.

my parents-in-law, my wife and I went to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. I believe it was my first visit there. The big attraction was Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion. The exhibit has been extended through September 8, 2019. It was fun to see the innovations “first-hand, exploring 40 full-size, true-to-design working models of his Renaissance inventions.” Many of them you were not just allowed, but encouraged, to touch.

“Each mechanism was meticulously built by a group of scientists and skilled artisans in collaboration with the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, Italy, and the artist’s instructions were carried out using the tools, techniques, and materials that were available during his era.”

My MIL was particularly fascinated by Objects and Their Stories: Shoes, on view through November 3, 2019.

Like similar facilities, the Berkshire Museum has far more holdings – more than 40,000 artworks, specimens, and artifacts – than can possibly be displayed at any given time. In fact, about 75% of the collection is in storage. It’s a small place, two stories, plus the basement that had the aquarium. The elevator has been broken for some time.

Some of the permanent collection is similar to things I’ve seen at the New York State Museum in Albany: rocks and minerals, stuffed animals, and the like. Because we all had memberships with other museums – my wife and I with the Albany Institute of History and Art – it was free for all of us.

We stayed for 90 minutes, which was more than enough time. It was also the length we could park legally on the street, as there was no parking lot.

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