Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is excited to announce its featured exhibit for 2018: “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion.” Leonardo da Vinci is celebrated as a painter, sculptor, musician, architect, engineer and anatomist. Most enduring to his legacy are his inventions and designs. “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion” presents full-scale machines that were built after in-depth study of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs by a group of scientists and skilled craftsmen in Florence, Italy. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that many of the mechanisms are life-sized and fully operational. Visitors may touch and set them in motion, combining a fascinating hands-on experience with an exploration of the principles he employed to create each machine. Museum guests are invited to interact and manipulate most of the machines, including the revolving crane, armored car, printing press and a working robot.


The machines are grouped into four sections based upon applications linked to the elements–air, water, land and fire–which held a strong fascination for Leonardo da Vinci.  Exhibits include such visionary inventions as the helicopter and glider, the armored tank, the drive transmission, and the bicycle. Most of the materials used in the construction of these machines were available in Leonardo da Vinci’s era, and are the ones proposed by him in his manuscripts, including wood, rope and glue. The materials were crafted by hand (using tools prescribed by the master himself), and then reinforced for the traveling exhibition.


The “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion” exhibit will be on display beginning February 12, 2018, through January 6, 2019. Admission to the special exhibit is included in the standard admission fees. For more information about admission policies, click on the “Visit” tab.


<< Return to Exhibits