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Circus Boerhaave

May 4, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Our new exhibition at Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, Netherlands is enchanting. The museum have worked closely with designer Saskia Meulendijks (Meulendijks Art Direction – Rotterdam) to create an atmospheric world of wonders, set in circus tents. Entering the exhibition you could almost be outside on a warm evening, with trees swaying in a breeze (via clever video projections). Enticing posters and colourful lights invite you to enter the painted tents, which are filled with mechanical curiosities. Where to go first? Human Curiosities, where a man in a bath will eat his own weight in spaghetti, or perhaps ‘Amazing Animals’ featuring a skiing dog!

The introductory text reads:

‘Museum Boerhaave proudly presents a time-honoured tradition: Science and Technology as entertainment.
Kings and Emperors of old liked to put on a show of mechanical games to amuse their guests. Yet, ‘serious’ scientists too dazzled their audiences with physics tricks and spectacular experiments during lectures.
Celebrating a vibrant tradition Circus Boerhaave is proud to introduce, for the first time in the Netherlands, the marvellous, hilarious and at times hair-raising mechanical pieces of Englands Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. Simply push the button to make them come alive and delight and amaze you.
But there is more in store, the Mechanical Theatre’s automata have been placed in a choice environment of physics games from Museum Boerhaave’s historic collections. Modern mechanical theatre is combined with centuries old physics games and puzzles to prove that science and technology are alive and absorbing. There is never a dull moment here. ‘

A local school have produced a large version the CMT Designing Automata Kit for visitors to use. The school children have also been making their own mechanical pieces at school, which you can see on their website here:

Exhibition details:

Museum Boerhaave
Lange St.
Agnietenstraat 10
2312 WC Leiden
Tel: +31 (0)71-5214224.

Opening Hours
Tuesday-Saturday 10 – 17h
Sundays and holidays 12 – 17h

Adults 7.50 Euros
Children/Concessions 3.50 Euros