Rare Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece at National Air and Space Museum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leonardo da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds” will be exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for 40 days this fall, from Sept. 13 until Oct. 22.

SMITHSONIAN'S NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM DA VINCI FLIGHT OF BIRDSThe extraordinary document, created in 1505, shows da Vinci’s interest in human flight by exploring bird flight and behavior. It includes sketches and descriptions of devices and aerodynamic principles related to mechanical flight that predate the invention of the airplane by 400 years.

The Codex, an early form of a personal notebook, will be on view in a specially designed and secured case located in “The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age,” an exhibition whose centerpiece is Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1903 Flyer, the world’s first successful powered aircraft. Nearby interactive stations will allow visitors to virtually leaf through the 18 folios (two-sided pages) of the Codex. The document will be loaned to the museum by the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy.

Admission to the exhibition is free and viewing is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. It is open daily, 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25).

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