The Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is set to inspire local children as they start their half term holiday next week.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing features 12 drawings from the Italian master and is part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.

Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the exhibition, which will feature a total of 144 Leonardo drawings.

The half term fun starts on Saturday, February 16, with the launch of the Leonardo ‘Code Cracker’ Trail. This is an active puzzle with clues scattered across the Museum’s galleries, all of which have a connection to the drawings featured in the exhibition. If the child manages to crack the code by answering the clues, they can claim a themed prize.

It’s available until the following Sunday, February 24, and costs £2.50 per child. Tickets can be bought from the Museum shop.

Then on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of half term week the Museum is holding three workshops, each one reflecting a different aspect of Leonardo’s interests and passions.

‘Bird’s Eye Views’ on Monday, February 18 will see children make a giant map of Wearside, inspired by Leonardo’s maps of Italy as well as creating their own ‘memory maps’ of favourite places to take home.

Wednesday, February 20 is the day for ‘Body Sculptures’ where youngsters will be encouraged to construct 3D models of the human body. They will be guided to take their inspiration from Leonardo’s anatomical drawings including lungs and feet.

Then on Friday, February 21 there is a chance to dress up like a Renaissance character from Leonardo da Vinci’s time in ‘Portraits and Poses’. Children will then be able to take a selfie before drawing their own portrait and one of their family.

All three activities take place over a morning session from 11am – 12.30pm and an afternoon one from 1.30pm – 3pm. They are ‘drop in’ events, no booking is required. While there is no set charge, a £3 donation is suggested.

“I’m really excited to welcome families to these sessions which are designed to be creative and fun and to help families find out more about Leonardo the artist, scientist, map-maker, sculptor and all-round creative genius,” said Jennie Lambert, Sunderland Museum’s Public Engagement and Learning Manager.

“The activities are directly inspired by the drawings on show in the exhibition, so I would encourage families to also go and see them when they visit.”

Tickets for Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, costing £2.50, can be pre-booked online by visiting or at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ reception during opening hours. Entry for under-16s is free, but they will need a ticket.

For information and updates on the supporting activities and events, log on to the museum’s website or check social media using the hashtags #SunderlandLeo and #Leonardo500.

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