The National Museum of Scotland celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 coinciding with the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. LEGO bricks were the perfect medium to celebrate!
They invited us to create an exhibition a large scale interactive build of an iconic museum artefact and construct a model of the museum itself, built live in front of museum visitors!
With over 30 models on display, a 2 metre high public Big Build of the Berserker Lewis Chessman and a 90,000 piece centrepiece model, the collaboration lasted over 3 months and still remains hugely popular within the museum.
One of the most iconic items in the collection are the the Lewis Chessmen. Discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, these 12th century pieces are known throughout the world. Building a Lewis Chessman in LEGO bricks seemed the ideal way to celebrate the exhibition.
A 3D laser scan of the chessman was provided to Warren Elsmore by the museum which was used as the template for the design. Using in-house tools, we created a set of instructions that could be followed to create a 50cm high version in LEGO bricks. Using this template, we then scaled up the model to create a 'Big Build'. Each normal LEGO brick in our instructions was replaced with a section built by the public - 4 times longer, wider and taller. 2,000 bricks later (and some special sculpting by our own builders) and we created a 2 metre high version of The Berserker that stood in the museum for the duration of the exhibition.
National Museum of Scotland Model
The centrepiece of the exhibition was the creation of a 3.5m long model of the National Museum itself. Built inside the museum, each week we added to the museum to replicate both the 150yr old facade and the modern extension. We included exhibits from dinosaurs to lighthouses and spark generators, a carefully selected variety of museum artefacts were added to the model, of course in minifigure-scale!
'Build it' Exhibtition
Running throughout the 3 month event, a series of models were supplied to be displayed in the Grand Gallery of the museum. Working with the curators, we chose a selection of models spanning Warren Elsmore's books but combined into a series of themed cabinets. Custom made plinths were designed for each model and some were hung within the display cases to great effect.
Daily Record, 02/06/16, Circulation: 187,037 - Never Lego of the past
The Scotsman, 02/06/16, Circulation: 23,782 - A night at the museum with Lego minifigures
The Scotsman, 02/06/16, Circulation: 23,782 - Another (90,000) bricks in the wall: Lego model of museum (cover inset)
Edinburgh Evening News, 02/05/16, Circulation: 23,550 - Slight at the museum
Edinburgh Evening News, 02/05/16, Circulation: 23,550 - LEGO marvel at museum (cover inset)
STV, 01/06/16 - STV News – Edinburgh (no link available)
Announcing that the LEGO National Museum of Scotland model has gone on public display. Clip begins at 15 min 51 sec in. Broadcast at: 18:15:51, Duration: 30 sec
BBC 1, 01/06/16 - Reporting Scotland (no link available)
Announcing that the LEGO National Museum of Scotland model has gone on public display. Clip begins at: 14 min 7 sec in. Broadcast at: 18:44:07, Duration: 20 sec
BBC.co.uk, 01/06/16 - Edinburgh landmark recreated in Lego
Heraldscotland.com, 01/06/16 - LEGO enthusiast creates incredible model of The National Museum of Scotland
STV.tv, 01/06/16 - Lego model of National Museum unveiled to mark 150th year
Edinburghspotlight.com, 01/06/16 - National Museum of Scotland Model Built from LEGOⓇ Bricks unveiled in Museum's 150th Year
Dailyrecord.co.uk, 01/06/16 - Meet the man who used 90,000 Lego bricks to recreate Scotland's iconic National Museum building
Edinburghnews.scotsman.com, 01/06/16 - Miniature Lego model of National Museum of Scotland unveiled
Scottishconstructionnow.com, 02/06/16 - And finally… Lego model of National Museum of Scotland unveiled to mark 150th year