Day 32 – The Leonardo

We had some more time to explore in Salt Lake City before continuing our drive east so we decided to hit a museum for the first time in a week. Salt Lake City has several good ones to choose from, but for me the choice was easy: The Leonardo.

The name alone captures the imagination of anyone who’s familiar with da Vinci’s work, with the fact that the name is not “The Leonardo Museum” but just “The Leonardo” adding to the intrigue. The museum’s form and function were inspired by da Vinci, but it’s not necessarily a museum about da Vinci. Areas in the museum included a hands-on building area; an exhibit on clean water and global water issues; an interactive area on mathematics; various puzzles and games; and a moving installation about poverty and homelessness among children. In other words:

When you first enter the museum, there’s a display that explains how to experience it (apologies for the bad angles on some of the photos):

The thing I was most struck by is what a phenomenal model this would be for a course, a curriculum, or even a school. What if we approached everything from the interdisciplinary, perhaps even transdisciplinary, approach that da Vinci took to his work, following our interests and ideas wherever they lead us? Just within the mathematics curriculum, the idea that we could use The Leonardo’s approach to building engaging, multifaceted courses that push our students (and ourselves) in new direction was enough to send me to Amazon looking for books about the man and his work. I think that some of these ideas blend nicely with other things I’ve seen and thought about over the last month, but they pull it together in a more inspiring and elegant way than I’ve seen before and so have given me something new to consider – which, come to think of it, is the reason The Leonardo was created to begin with.

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