Laying the building blocks: Brick History exhibition breaks visitor records

The hugely popular Brick History exhibition has broken visitor figure records with 18,697 people visiting between 12 February and 15 April 2018 to be taken on a journey through 13.8 million years of history portrayed in Lego bricks.

With tiny recreations of Concorde and Titanic that would sit in your hand, to a 1.5m square castle bustling with activity in periods of both peace and war, Brick History proved to be popular among people of all ages.An image of a father and his son looking at the Lego model of Rochester Castle with intrigue in the Brick History exhibition which is open at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery until Sunday 15 April 2018.

Children and adults alike were wowed by the intricate Lego displays and enjoyed the opportunity to display their own creative skills in the Lego playzone.

Figures show that 70% of total visitors to Brick History were families and children which is fantastic news for the future of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Fay Bailey, Learning & Communications Manager at Shropshire Museums, said:

“We are working hard to position Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery as a family friendly place to visit so to have had such a large proportion of our visitors to Brick History fall within this demographic is absolutely wonderful.

An image of a toddler playing with Lego in the playzone at the Brick History exhibition that was at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery between 12 February and 15 April 2018.

Toddler playing with Lego in the Brick History playzone

“We are thrilled that Brick History has proven to be so popular and delighted that our visitors had such an enjoyable experience with us. Our playzone provided opportunities for people of all ages to explore their creativity. We were very impressed with the fantastic models and designs.”

As Brick History is de-installed, it is time to look forward to the next special exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery… Titanic: Honour & Glory which opens on Monday 2 July 2018.

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Blog: EDU-tainment in Brick History by Katy Rink

If it is EDU-tainment you are after, look no further than the Brick History exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. This is the latest marvellous model show to arrive in town from the Warren Elsmore emporium – of Brick City fame – and features defining moments and discoveries on earth from the big bang right through to modern day.

Snapshots of history are presented in vibrant, multi-coloured 3D, arranged in themes such as Transport, War & Conflict, Exploration, Equality and the Arts – from intricately recreated scientific triumphs such as the double helix and smallpox vaccine (complete with little vials!), to terracotta warriors, Vesuvius, Concorde and the Titanic. Stars of the show are a 1.5m recreation of Rochester Castle – the real one dates back to 1088 with 12 ft thick walls. The Lego® ‘stonework’ is astonishing and the children loved spotting the different foods and animals in the outbuildings.An image of a father and his son looking at the Lego model of Rochester Castle with intrigue in the Brick History exhibition which is open at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery until Sunday 15 April 2018.

I loved the first silent movie theatre – the audience all in colour and the screen in black and white – with the intricate mechanics of its projection booth and the Hong Kong skyline, to mark the handover in 1997.

We also enjoyed hearing about some of the techniques involved from lead creative designer Guy Bagley, such as ‘bram sphere’ to create special plates for globes and ‘Studs Not on Top’ or (SNOT) for building models outwards, rather than upwards.

Guy had a hand in most of the models, as he says, he is ‘paid to play’ and has been designing Lego® models for more than 35 years, all over the world. All the models are made with unglued, standard Lego bricks, put together by human hand: “The only way you can tell if something looks right is by good old-fashioned human eye,” Guy said.

An image of Guy Bagley, of Warren Elsmore Ltd. addressing the first people to visit Brick History at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Guy Bagley introducing Brick History

Opening the exhibition, he explained: “We hope children will be enticed by the models and may notice something that might spark their curiosity and make them want to go away and find out more. They might say ‘look mum, why is that lady chained to the railings?’ and it will prompt further discussion.

“We have 13m years of history going right back to the dinosaurs and everything in between.”

The three winning models in the museum’s Brick History competition are also on display, including a spectacular design of The Flying Scotsman from Alfie Hembrow-Forrester (5-11 category) – spot the hidden Homer Simpson! – Super Mario gaming figures from Roger Lewis (17+) and Mount Vesuvius erupting in Pompeii from Cal Adlard (12-16).

Cal was at the opening with his famous dad – comic laureate Charlie Adlard (of the Walking Dead comics) – and mum Lynette. Cal said: “I wanted to capture how much of Pompeii has been preserved after the eruption and also the perspective, with the big volcano looming in the background.”

An image of two Brick History competition winners with Mary Mckenzie, Lezley Picton and Guy Bagley in the Brick History exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Build your own model competition winners with Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for leisure and culture, Mary Mckenzie, Shropshire Museums and Archives Manager and Guy Bagley of Warren Elsmore Ltd.

Guy Bagley added: “We loved the black figure climbing out of the lava. We call him charcoal man.”

Get your Brick History tickets online to avoid the queues. You will be delighted, diverted, engrossed, occasionally startled – and you might even learn a thing or two. The kids won’t let you miss the huge LEGO® play zone on Level 2. My 9-year-old managed to balance on top of a 7ft Lego tower he built himself. Maybe don’t try that.

Brick History will be at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery until 15 April 2018. Admission £10 a family ticket (two adults and up to three children aged 5-17), or £7 family ticket (one adult and up to three children aged 5.17), or £4.50 adult, £2 child.

The March/April edition of My Shrewsbury is available now.

Journey through history in LEGO® at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

2018 is set to get off to a thrilling start at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery with the arrival of Lego: Brick History in February 2018.

Opening on Friday 9 February, Lego: Brick History takes you on a journey through pivotal moments in world history, modelled in Lego® bricks.

Experience historical moments and periods from Mozart to Martin Luther King, scientific discoveries from the Big Bang to DNA and recent history from mobile phones to the moon landings.

Here is a sneak preview of Lego: Brick History brought to life…

This exhibition has something for people of all ages. From tiny recreations of Concorde and Titanic that would sit in your hand, to a 1.5m square castle bustling with activity in periods of both piece and war, there is something for all to be amazed by and to admire.

Children and adults alike are sure to be inspired by this exhibition and eager to build their own LEGO® models.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:

“LEGO was a hugley popular exhibition when it visited in 2015 with over 14,000 people visiting the Museum during its’ five week stay, so it’s fantastic that it is returning.

“Brick History has something that people of all ages can enjoy. Young and old will have an affinity with LEGO bricks, whether it be those who enjoy building with them now, or those who have fond memories of building the most epic of models back in the day. I can’t wait for this incredibly exciting exhibition to open.”

Warren Ellsmore, creator of Brick History, said:

“We’re all very excited here to be coming back to Shrewsbury after the success of Brick City. Brick History is one of our brand new exhibitions and has proved to be hugely popular since it opened in Newcastle just last year. Trying to reflect the whole history of the world in LEGO bricks was a challenge, especially as we decided to focus on perhaps some of lesser known heroes and landmarks of the past – some of which are still very close to Shrewsbury!”

Bringing a sense of community into Lego: Brick History, this exhibition will feature the models created by our 3 ‘Build your own model’ competition winners!

LEGO: Brick History will be at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from 9 February – 15 April 2018.

To find out more about Warren Elsmore and his touring LEGO© bricks exhibitions, visit http://warrenelsmore.com/brickhistory/.

Competition: Your chance to feature in LEGO: Brick History

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is offering three lucky people the chance to have a LEGO® model that they have built feature in next year’s exciting special exhibition, LEGO: Brick History.

Given the theme of the exhibition, model makers will need to use their imagination to build a model that represents a historical theme… from scratch!

Lego® models could represent a period in history such as the Industrial Revolution or the Jurassic Age or key historical moments like the moon landing in 1969.

All models submitted as entry into the competition must be built from scratch. Any kit models will not be considered.

Participants’ models can be a maximum of 600mm x 600mm x 600mm.

There are three categories for people to enter depending on their age:

5 – 11 year olds
12 – 16 year olds
17+

As well as having their model featured in this amazing exhibition, winners will also receive Lego® worth up to £50 and one year free entry to the Museum.

The competition is now open and entrants will have until 10pm on Friday 5 January 2018 to submit their entry.

To enter this competition and have the chance to have YOUR model featured in the LEGO: Brick History exhibition, email shrewsburymuseum@shropshire.gov.uk with the following:

  • A photo of your model
  • What historical period or history theme your model represents
  • Your name and age category your submission is for.

The competition will be judged by Lego® enthusiast and Brick History creator, Warren Elsmore. Warren said:

An image of Warren Elsmore, creator of LEGO: Brick History and judge of the 'build your own model' competition.

Warren Elsmore (image can be found http://warrenelsmore.com/

“I can’t wait to see what designs the people of Shropshire and beyond can come up with! We chose History as a topic as it gave us so many ideas to work with. The world is your oyster!”

LEGO: Brick History opens at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 9 February 2018.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.