Exploratory 'Leonardo' museum in SLC opens Saturday


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SALT LAKE CITY -- The 'Gee Whiz' factor is going up this weekend in Utah.

Salt Lake's newest museum is opening, and it's calculated to educate, inspire and amaze. People are gathering for an invitation-only gala opening of The Leonardo. The name and concept were inspired by Leonardo DaVinci. Was the great man an artist? A scientist? An inventor? As a matter of fact, he was all of the above.

They call it a museum, because it doesn't fit any other category. But it's a different kind of museum, where you can see cool stuff, and interact with it. You can take classes, or see exhibits on such things as prosthetic limbs. You might get a glimpse of Frankenstein or see the wave action of a spring slowed by the flicker of a strobe light.

Maybe you want to make an animated movie starring yourself. You could do that in a motion-capture studio, courtesy of The Leonardo.

"It's the fusion of art, science and technology, in exciting ways, as exemplified by the career and life of Leonardo Davinci," said Peter Giles, executive director of the Leonardo.

The Leonardo

209 East 500 South
Salt Lake City

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday Closed

Adults tickets $14
Youth tickets $10

There, you can donate saliva and be a human subject in an actual scientific study. The University of Utah is studying whether genes affect the ability to concentrate and multi-task.

"The effect we're trying to measure, in a sense, is subtle. We can't measure it with 10 people, we can't even measure it with a hundred people. We really need thousands of participants to measure what we think is there," said Bob Weiss, professor of Human Genetics, U. of U.

The price of admission is 14 bucks for adults, 10 for kids. Marketing expert Brian Jorgensen said it seems a bit high for the market.

"They may be pricing a little bit higher to give it a perception of high quality experience," he said. "If they're trying to expose as many people as possible to the experience, then that may not be the best strategy because a lower price would definitely bring more people in."

Leonardo officials say they have programs aimed at lowering the cost and bargain deals for repeat visitors. "The goal is that they come over and over," said Giles. "This is going to be changing. What's happening in the world around us is always changing. And to be able to reflect that, here at the Leonardo, we need to be changing."

The Leonardo opens for the public on Saturday.

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John Hollenhorst

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