This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Welcome to The World of da Vinci, a temporary exhibit at The Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
I admit I was very excited to visit this exhibit as soon as it was announced but nothing could prepare me for how much I LOVED IT! I should have know something very special was awaiting me when I was walking up to the building and passed a young family who were leaving and overheard the elementary school boy exclaiming “that was the coolest thing ever!” And quite frankly I agree wholeheartedly with him. How will the Reagan Library outdo themselves after Pompeii and da Vinci next?
The Reagan Library has done a fabulous job with their The World of da Vinci exhibit that runs through September 8, 2019.
“Tell me, have I done anything of worth? Tell me if anything was ever done.” – Leonardo da Vinci
For the First Time Ever
For the first time ever, two original folios of the authentic, 500-year-old Codex Atlanticus, over three dozen reconstructions of Leonardo da Vinci’s extraordinary machines, as well as a more modern take on da Vinci’s work including five original Warhol paintings featuring da Vinci’s Last Supper have been brought together for a one-of-a-kind special exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum’s The World of da Vinci exhibition.
One of the best things I loved about the exhibit was how interactive it was, thanks in part to Leonardo3. Unfortunately a few of the interactive touch computers were hidden away in corners and might easily have been missed. The best computers that I feel are MUST TOUCH include two in the Last Supper room detailing the restoration process and an interpretation of why Leonardo painted each disciple just so in the original Last Supper. After seeing this you’ll be saying “Dan Brown, who?”
And a third interactive computer is in the final room downstairs in a mock-up of Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop where a hands-on experience helps visitors learn who da Vinci was and what he did during his life. Don’t stop midway through the experience because at the end you will get a very fun (and free!) keepsake. [Unfortunately there was no docent to walk you through the process so I saw quite a few people stop by but never finish the experience. I probably would have done the same had I not been piqued by the sight of a printer against the wall.]
Versatility and Creative Power of Leonardo da Vinci
The World of da Vinci showcases the versatility and creative power of da Vinci – a supreme genius and one of the greatest minds of all time. His drawings cover mechanics, engineering, architecture, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, botany, zoology, anatomy, military and physics, and each of these can be seen in the reconstructions of his machines on display at the Reagan Library. Life-size reproductions include his Great Kite, Triple Machine Gun and Mechanical Lion.
These reproductions are INCREDIBLE. The detail! The detail! The detail! Did I say that enough? No, seriously I could have spent a great long while just studying the structural detail of each. Very impressive! For instance, look at the detailing on this miniature boat (one of many showcased in the exhibit) that da Vinci designed. Everything from the tiny rope to the paddles to the etc.
Great Continuous Organ
In addition, the Reagan Library also hosts the worldwide premiere of da Vinci’s Great Continuous Organ, which is one of his most fascinating and functional inventions! On Sunday when I visited the organ was not being played but I saw a setup with microphone and speakers so perhaps on other days you might be lucky enough to hear some music from the organ?
- Two rare and authentic folios, known as 710 and 897,* from the Codex Atlanticus, da Vinci’s collection of 402 folios containing 1,750 drawings completed between 1478 and 1519.
- Over three-dozen reconstructions of Leonardo da Vinci’s fantastic machines, broken out by genre, including a “Flying Machine Area,” a “War Machines Area,” an “Engineering Area,” a “Musical Instrument Area,” and more. Over a dozen of these reconstructions are built life-size.
- 5 original Andy Warhol paintings of da Vinci’s Last Supper, completed just prior to Warhol’s death in 1987 (courtesy of J. Carter Tutwiler)
And to top it all off, the exhibit curators were able to tie da Vinci in with President Reagan with a small but critical display opposite the Warhol paintings. This 1987 Ferrari sculpture and Grecian mother of pearl diorama are two favorites.
This not-to-be-missed exhibition is ideal for the entire family. For more information and to pre-purchase tickets, please visit http://www.reaganlibrary.com/davinci.
The Reagan Library is 99% accessible (not including Air Force One and Marine One that require walking through on your own two feet.) To avoid going up/down the stairs, there is an elevator! When you’re on the top floor, you’ll find the elevator to your right and if you’re downstairs it’ll be to the left when you want to go up. And thankfully for those of us with crutches, canes or other walking devices – there is an ample amount of benches (comfy too!) for us to sit down and rest a bit throughout the exhibit.