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Arts Playlist: Steampunk sculpture comes to Hagley Museum


A unique piece of art recently arrived at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington.

Starting June 1, a thousand-pound Steampunk sculpture called the Velocipede Time Machine will greet visitors in the lobby of Hagley’s Nation of Inventors exhibition.

And in this week’s Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele chats with its designer, Bruce Rosenbaum.


“Steampunk is…’s actually very hard to define," said Rosenbaum. "But for my own kind of definition, it’s fusion of history, plus art, plus technology. It’s basically 'what if?'. What if during the Victorian Period or the Industrial Age, what if they had our modern technology; how everything would have changed.”

Rosenbaum notes that Hagley is home to 5,000 patent models from the nineteenth century and his work Rosenbaum says this sculpture is based on some of them.

"It was actually inspired by some of Hagley’s patent models. Actually three of their patent models - a Velocipede, an electromagnetic- dynamo motor and governor balls (spacers),” said Rosenbaum. 

The sculpture journeyed 300-miles from Massachusetts last week and took several days to install in the lobby of Hagley’s Nation of Inventors exhibition.

That exhibition opens this fall, taking in-depth look at the history of invention in nineteenth-century America. But you can view the Velocipede Time Machine  beginning June 1, 2021 when the Visitor Center is re-opened for ticketing.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.