The National Museum of Scotland was opened in 1866 and in 2016, celebrated its' 150th anniversary. 2016 also marked the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, so LEGO bricks are the perfect medium in which to celebrate this achievement?

As part of a series of events, Warren Elsmore was invited to create an exhibition to celebrate our work, a large scale interactive build of an iconic museum artefact - as well as construct a model of the museum itself, built live in front of the public!

With over 30 models on display, a 2 meter high public Big Build and a 90,000 element centrepiece model, the collaboration lasted over 3 months and still remains hugely popular within the museum.




'Build it!' Exhibition

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 Elsmores 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.

Lewis Chessman

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. 2000 bricks later (and some special sculpting by our own builders) and we created a 2 meter high version of the chessman that stood int he 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. 

Once completed, of course we needed to add exhibits to the museum. From dinosaurs to lighthouses and spark generators, a carefully selected variety of museum artefacts were added to the model, of course in minifigure-scale!

Press coverage:

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)


Online coverage, 01/06/16 - Edinburgh landmark recreated in Lego, 01/06/16 - LEGO enthusiast creates incredible model of The National Museum of Scotland, 01/06/16 - Lego model of National Museum unveiled to mark 150th year, 01/06/16 - National Museum of Scotland Model Built from LEGO Bricks unveiled in Museum's 150th Year, 01/06/16 - Meet the man who used 90,000 Lego bricks to recreate Scotland's iconic National Museum building, 01/06/16 - Miniature Lego model of National Museum of Scotland unveiled, 02/06/16 - And finally… Lego model of National Museum of Scotland unveiled to mark 150th year


Broadcast coverage

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