Three New Outdoor Exhibits at Discovery Museum!

Discovery Museum has announced three new outdoor exhibits inspired by the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, along with “Discover da Vinci,” a set of online resources for at-home explorations.

The new exhibits include:

The Lever – At over 12’ 5” tall, this giant kinetic lever lets visitors explore the principle of leverage by trying to lift a 4’ basket swing—perhaps holding friends or family members—from three different leverage points across a 20’ beam. As an inventor and engineer, Leonardo da Vinci studied simple machines such as the lever, often using them as the building blocks for his innovative machine designs.

Lever Machine from Discovery Museum with three kids playing on structure

Vitruvian Man – The 6’ tall bronze sculpture of one of da Vinci’s most famous drawings helps visitors explore the concepts of proportion and ratios through comparisons of the length of different body parts.

Vitruvian Man Sculpture at Discovery Museum

The Bridge – da Vinci designed an ingenious self-supporting bridge that could be built without nails, ropes, or other fasteners, relying on friction and gravity to allow users to cross safely. The Museum’s model of the bridge is 4’ long and 3’ wide, a great size for visitors to climb.

Child walking over outdoor natural bridge at Discovery Museum

“Fueled by his own curiosity and without formal schooling, da Vinci created complex and innovative designs out of small-scale observations and long-term explorations,” said Brindha Muniappan, senior director of the visitor experience at Discovery Museum. “We have brought some of da Vinci’s ideas into three-dimensional form to enable visitors to go beyond visual enjoyment of his work to physically interacting with his designs.”

The new outdoor exhibits and “Discover da Vinci” online resource page are the 2nd and 3rd components of the Museum’s celebration of da Vinci’s work and impact, joining the da Vinci Workshop, created when the Museum opened its all-new building in March 2018. The da Vinci Workshop is an open-ended workspace for using tools, tinkering, design, and inventing using recycled materials, off-the-shelf supplies, tools, and technology. It includes a working model of da Vinci’s ornithopter—a machine he designed to test human flight—and a Wind Table where visitors can test their own designs of things that can fly.

Funding for the da Vinci exhibits, da Vinci Workshop, and related resources at Discovery Museum is provided by the Kilmer Family of Braintree.

Discovery Museum
177 Main Street (Route 27)
Acton, Massachusetts 01720
Phone: 978-264-4200


About Discovery Museum
Discovery Museum is a hands-on museum that blends science, nature, and play, inspiring families to explore and learn together. The museum and its Discovery Woods accessible outdoor nature playscape and 550sf treehouse blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus abutting 180 acres of conservation land in Acton, MA, about 20 miles west of Boston. Originally founded in 1982 and expanded to two museums in 1987, the museum reopened in a single, 16,000sf accessible building after a complete renovation and expansion in early 2018. Hands-on, open-ended exhibits developed by professional educators inspire curiosity and exploration, providing a fun and engaging experience for children and adults to discover their world together. Serving families and schools from towns throughout the region, the museum is devoted to informal education that enhances classroom learning. Discovery Museum is committed to accessibility and is a proud recipient of the 2017 Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the only winner in the Access category, and a 2018 LEAD® Community Asset Award from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information please visit Discovery Museum is a community-supported non-profit organization.
Discovery Museum programming is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

    Leave a Reply