Leonardo in Spokane!

by Vicky on November 28, 2011

So much to catch up with!

Back in August, I also traveled to Spokane to attend the Pacific Northwest Library Association conference.  I went to a number of excellent sessions, including my two favorites, Rachel McDonald’s Digital Storytelling for Children and Teens and The Adolescent Brain, Behavior, and Beyond, by Jennifer Fleck and Jennifer Wooten.

Unplanned highlights of the trip were discovering Spokane’s wonderful independent bookseller, Auntie’s Bookstore, and exploring an amazing exhibit at the Museum of Northwest Art and Culture, “Leonardo da Vinci: Man—Inventor—Genius.”

The exhibit included full-sized and scale models of many of Leonardo’s inventions (many hands-on) , as well as computer simulations and films.  There was also a very funny section on the Mona Lisa in pop culture.  The section on Leonardo’s flying machines included the best short film I have ever seen: Leonardo, by Jim Capobianco, which was so enchanting that it brought tears to my eyes.

But best of all were the teen interpreters from the Welty Teen Docent program (made possible by Dr. Elizabeth Welty, one of the area’s first female physicians and a longtime philanthropist and MAC supporter). After a competitive selection process, 28 local students aged 14-18 were given an extensive hands-on introduction to Leonardo da Vinci. Stationed at rustic carts in four different areas of the exhibit, the students gave engaging talks on demand about a particular aspect of Leonardo’s work. I discovered by asking questions that they were excited about Leonardo’s work and expansively knowledgeable about every aspect of the exhibit, and happy to offer up many additional fascinating stories.

It was inspiring to witness the success of this venture leveraging the energy, brainpower, creativity, and sheer talent of teens for the benefit of the community.

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