Last night I was the GF’s escort to the opening of an exhibit about Leonardo Davinci at the Museum of Science and Industry. For the record, she got the invitation – I was just there to serve as arm candy. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been there, but it was only the second time I’d been on the south side of the city since I moved here. The exhibit was all right - mostly re-creations of inventions from his notebooks, with few of the interactive stuff that I love about science museums*.
Of course, as with any traveling or temporary museum exhibit these days, there was the obligatory “exhibition store” at the very end. Now, I expected this part. After all we’ve all seen the Leonardo stuff at art museums across the county. But what I didn’t expect was the breadth of Leonardo merchandise that can be purchased these days. Sure, they had the predictable items such as t-shirts, baseball caps, and globes featuring his designs. But they also had Mona Lisa soap and Leonardo Action Figures**!
In a way, I’m glad that I wasn’t the staffer assigned the task of “finding every kind of Leonardo-themed merchandise available on the planet” because I would have given up pretty quick once I’d run out of key chains and commemorative watches***. Perhaps this explains the presence of the action figures and soap – as the toady searched website after website in a desperate attempt to find enough merchandise to fill the 5500 square-foot store, it became more and more difficult to find regular tchochkes or art pieces****. After ten straight days of searching, you’d probably think “Yes, the only thing missing is an action figure! Brilliant!” too. The soap was probably bought by his boss to try and re-acquaint him with hygiene after two weeks of ceaseless merchandise-questing.
We ended up being there for nearly the full three hour program, and other than a cake-induced “dessert episode” on our way out***** I managed to avoid embarrassing either of us too much. And that’s a win in my book. I can’t wait to go back to the museum – they have a submarine inside the building!
* Although we did successfully cock, load, and fire a rubber ball into the target net using a half-scale catapult
** It turns out that the company that makes that also makes a bunch of other weird action figures – both of historical figures but also of wacky regular folks in your town. My favorite is the Crazy Cat Lady
*** This is the same watch that was at the exhibition. Holy crap, France – what are you thinking? $30 for a plastic watch? I wonder how much it was selling for at the exhibit…
**** I mean, you can only find so many mounted reproductions of the Mona Lisa, Leo’s self-portrait, and the naked guy with four arms and four legs that we sent into space to confuse all the aliens into thinking we’re twice as strong as we actually are, thus staving off invasion by galactic overlords for a hundred years or so.
***** One that prompted the GF’s comment “Wow – that was a lot of food you just put in your mouth”.