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Museum of Science and Industry LEGO exhibit honors Chicago

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The Museum of Science and Industry LEGO exhibit displays renditions of Chicago architecture. (Pat Mullane/The DePaulia)

The Museum of Science and Industry LEGO exhibit displays renditions of Chicago architecture. (Pat Mullane/The DePaulia)

Much like our sports atmosphere or the array of foods this city has to offer, the knowledge and history that our museum’s provide are what make Chicago the capital of the Midwest.  From the Field Museum to the Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry to the Adler Planetarium, the countless exhibits and events offered year-round in Chicago are endless.  And on a hot summer day, museum exhibits are not only a place to cool-off, but a place of exploration and creativity, a place to learn.  And one of the most fascinating exhibits provided this year is at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Brick by Brick exhibit—an exploration of architecture and design through the use of LEGOs.

The beauty of MSI’s Brick by Brick exhibit revolves around the dozens of structures created by Chicago native and LEGO Certified Professional, Adam Reed Tucker.  From the 60-foot-LEGO recreation of the Golden Gate Bridge that greets you at the exhibit’s entrance to the tens of other recreated LEGO world-renowned structures such as the Roman Colosseum or the Pyramids of Giza.  The man-made wonders of the world retain their awe at the sight of their LEGO counterparts.

“We were so lucky to work with Adam on this exhibit, you walk in and see all of those structures he’s made and it makes you wonder how he did it—and then you wonder how the real buildings were made, new or old, it’s fascinating,” said Jeff Buonomo, manager of special exhibitions at MSI.  “What better way to explore the architecture of some of the most recognized structures in the world than through one of most recognizable building toys in the world.”

While the LEGO structures are indeed fascinating to look at, Brick by Brick offers much more, exploring the precautions of design from earthquake tremors to the physicality measures of momentum of weight, force, and velocity. Throughout the exhibit, an activity book is provided to guide the museum-goer throughout various activities—from balancing bean bangs on a paper bridge, to testing your LEGO car down a speed ramp.  Unlike many museum exhibits, these activities aren’t busywork for your kids, they’re fun tasks that involve creativity and imagination that take full interest of everyone.  Make no mistake, Brick by Brick’s LEGO adventure is not an exhibit solely for children.

“As cliché as it sounds, this exhibit really is for everyone—both child and adult,” Buonomo said.  “LEGOs are far more than toys, they’re building structures for the mind, and they’re a tool of creativity.  And as you can see from the exhibit, creativity doesn’t stop when you become an adult.  This was a fun exhibit to put together as an employee at the MSI, and I hope those that visit feel the same way about Adam’s work here.”

The exhibit which runs throughout the summer is possibly the best new feature at MSI for both young children and adults, as with just a glance inside the doors you can see everyone building LEGO structures big and small.  Though due to its popularity, the exhibit is known for overcrowding due to the fact every ticket has a designated time to enter, yet not one to leave.

“We do recognize that it can get a little crowded in there during rush hour at the museum but the big thing were happy about is that so many visitors are staying in the exhibit, doing the activities and making their own structures out of LEGOs, rather than breezing right by everything,” said Buonomo.  “This is a very hands-on exhibit, and we want people to interact.”

The most pleasant part about the fairly small but expansively interesting exhibit is its ease to communicate complex jargon terms of architecture and physics into simple fun activities and booklets. Activities that take the imagination and creativity behind your small LEGO structure and connect to the same mind’s behind some of the world’s most famous structures, be it the International Space Station or even the Burj Khalifa

It’s not simple to take the world’s tallest building or some of the most complex sciences and engineering and stature them down into simple sizes of understanding, but with the help of LEGOs and the work of Adam Reed Tucker, MSI’s Brick by Brick does just that.

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Museum of Science and Industry LEGO exhibit honors Chicago