The Reading Public Museum announced its slate of 2022 exhibitions as it looks to welcome visitors with a full operating schedule for the first time since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all cultural and hospitality institutions, but the Reading Public Museum has remained committed to safely serving the public to the highest degree possible throughout, all while preparing for this blockbuster 2022 exhibition series.
The series includes the world debut of Dinosaur Explorer, which provides a look into the daily lives of dinosaurs, seeking to make connections between the similarities in their behavior and our lives today. REAL BODIES, a global phenomenon, also makes its debut in Reading. The heralded exhibition explores the intricacies of the human body, and for the first time looks at the complex effects of COVID-19 on the human body. In the fall, the Reading Public Museum will unveil Da Vinci: The Exhibition, which brings alive inventions and works by Leonardo Da Vinci in a hands-on display.
“We could not be more excited to share our 2022 exhibition schedule with our community,” said Museum Director and CEO, John Graydon Smith. “We are bringing world-renowned exhibitions and collections to Reading, and our Museum will debut new facets of collections that have been on display at some of the most prominent museums in the world. We will bring dinosaurs to life for children and their families. We will explore what it means to be human and the impact of disease on our bodies. We will let students touch Da Vinci’s greatest inventions and imagine how they connect to the tools we use today.”
Since 2020, the Reading School District has banned field trips due to COVID-19. The Reading Public Museum is proud to welcome field trips back from all Berks districts in 2022 and continue to provide free access to Reading students as intended by our founder Dr. Levi Mengel.
February 19, 2022 to May 8, 2022
Making its world debut at The Museum on February 19, Dinosaur Explorer is an exhibition that explores the wildest, wackiest, and most wondrous dinosaurs ever to roam the Earth. It examines human physiology through the lens of these magnificent creatures. Although they lived millions of years before humans, dinosaurs—just like us—adapted to not only survive, but to thrive on planet earth. As such, paleontologists believe that dinosaurs shared many commonalities with humankind. As astounding as it may seem, they lived daily lives that may be quite familiar. Through topics like feeding or family dynamics, intelligence, or interpersonal relationships, Dinosaur Explorer examines how environmental, biological, and behavioral circumstances influenced dinosaur daily life, and asks: where do we see similarities in our world today?
Through a series of dynamic displays that feature advanced animatronic dinosaurs, authentic casts and actual fossils, and highly interactive hands-on activities, visitors will learn the science behind dinosaur adaptations and understand the connections humans share with our prehistoric predecessors. As they move through a series of vibrant vignettes, visitors will discover what modern paleontology knows about the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods—as well as what remains uncertain. Visitors will be challenged to imagine how through small changes—such as tooth form or brain sizes—paleontologists have completely altered the world’s understanding of these incredible creatures’ success. And just like a scientist, guests will be empowered to hypothesize about prehistoric life by piecing together paleontological and biological clues.
Featuring the latest animatronic technology to create quiet, smooth, lifelike movements and the most current dinosaur science, courtesy of content partner Dr. Gregory M. Erickson (one of only 150 full-time professional dinosaur paleontologists in the world), Dinosaur Explorer will amaze visitors of all ages and will run at the Reading Public Museum through May 8.
May 21, 2022 to September 18, 2022
REAL BODIES is a powerful exhibition that explores life by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and more anatomical specimens. More than a simple display of human specimens, REAL BODIES will connect audiences to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. Sponsored locally by Penn State Health St. Joseph’s and Highmark, REAL BODIES reveals a deep synergy between breathing, hunger, the rhythm of the heart, love, motion, thought, and medicine that makes each person unique.
For its debut in Reading, REAL BODIES has added new content designed to help the public understand the complex and cascading effect the COVID-19 virus has on the systems of the body. Developed in consultation with a medical advisor with expertise in emerging infectious disease preparedness and response, the new content presents a multi-faceted—yet easily understood—picture of COVID-19 from an anatomical perspective.
Da Vinci: The Exhibition
October 1, 2022 to January 8, 2023
In time for the fall return to school, and the field trips from local Districts that will bring thousands of area students to The Museum, Da Vinci: The Exhibition is a hands-on examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s life, research, and art. Featuring more than 65 fully built, life-size inventions, more than 20 fine art studies, and dozens of stunning displays, guests will learn the complex beginnings and lifetime achievements of da Vinci through his discoveries in art, engineering, flight, hydraulics, music, light, and more.
Throughout the exhibition’s themed galleries, visitors will discover the breadth and scope of da Vinci’s incredibly advanced understanding of science, mathematics, nature, and the relationship between the three. The artist’s intricate designs and extraordinary early concepts are spotlighted, including his design for the helicopter, tank, SCUBA, crane, clock, submarine, and his plan for a modern city. Additionally, various multimedia experiences and documentary presentations will provide supplementary information on da Vinci’s discoveries and creative process.
Each invention featured within Da Vinci: The Exhibition was handcrafted utilizing a modern translation of da Vinci’s unique mirrored writing style in an ancient Florentine dialect. Trained artisans used these translations to construct full-scale models and bring the master’s two- dimensional plans to life. In addition to da Vinci’s role as an inventor, the exhibition investigates a collection of da Vinci’s most renowned paintings, including some controversial works traditionally attributed to him, but not yet authenticated. Guests will have the opportunity to thoroughly study the artistic mastery behind such works as the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Portrait of a Young Man, Virgin of the Rocks, St. John the Baptist, and more.
Throughout his lifelong devotion to the sciences and fascination with nature, da Vinci also extensively explored the world of anatomy. Da Vinci: The Exhibition features in-depth and enlightening explanations of his famous studies on subjects such as the golden ratio and “Vitruvian Man,” which are complemented by enlarged examples of the artist’s sketches and notes made during his controversial research on the human body.