Da Vinci Deserves Better

(Photo from FrazierMuseum.org)

Last week, I took my family to the Frazier History Museum to see the Da Vinci “The Genius” exhibit. We expected it to be solidly entertaining, though we knew that it probably wouldn’t hold our toddler’s attention for long.

First, we were very surprised by how cramped the exhibit was. There was a lot of stuff in those 10,000 square feet, but I could hardly turn around without running into someone, and it was so crowded that it was difficult to read most of the signs without hogging them.

The reproductions of Da Vinci’s machines had the potential to be really interesting. I enjoyed seeing them in person, and there were a lot of reproductions to pore over: a perspective machine, a mechanical drum, a clock mechanism, several different cranes, etc. However, you’re not allowed to touch them. I’m not sure how the exhibit can be described as “hands-on” when such a large part of it is stationary. With Frazier personnel standing by every five feet, why can’t they at least provide some kind of demonstration? There were a couple reproductions which actually were hands-on, namely the room of mirrors (which our toddler thought was awesome!), and the emergency bridge. You’re not allowed to touch the emergency bridge itself, but there’s a large pile of wood on the floor for you to make your own emergency bridge. Unfortunately, the room was too crowded for anyone to really try it while I was there.

The Da Vinci exhibit won’t be very appealing to most kids, depending on their maturity level as well as their interest in the subject, but since we knew that going in, we didn’t mind that aspect too much.

It was also outrageously overpriced. Obviously this type of special exhibit requires extra funds, but $18.50 for an adult ticket is seriously steep. And even museum members have to pay an extra entry fee! Thanks, but no thanks.

I love museums, and I greatly appreciate seeing works of art in person, but honestly? There wasn’t much here that I couldn’t have seen or learned on the internet—without the crowds. The Mona Lisa is great, but I didn’t have to pay $18.50 for the pleasure of seeing it at the Louvre (along with thousands of other priceless pieces of art)…so why would I pay $18.50 to see a reproduction?

If you’re interested, the Da Vinci exhibit runs through September 18, and you can find details about pricing and location on their website.

I received complimentary tickets to the Da Vinci exhibit, but was not otherwise paid or perked for my review. All opinions are my own.