In this popular annual exhibition, which continues through February 5, 2017, the Stamford Museum galleries are transformed into a fantastical world of skylines and superheroes. LEGO trains, trams, and subways travel over, under, and around a totally new LEGO landscape, featuring five of the most iconic buildings in New York City, where superheroes save the day.
Last year’s highly successful Billion Bricks 3: Galactic Travels celebrated the 15th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars® and featured a universe made completely out of LEGO bricks; an awesome collection of 500 LEGO mini-figurines (one of every Star Wars mini-fig ever produced); and authentic LEGO Star Wars spaceships, vehicles, and original set boxes.
This year’s Billion Bricks exhibition brings together two universes – the rival superheroes of the Marvel and DC franchises, from Spider-Man and Captain Marvel to Batman and Wonder Woman.
“We are jazzed about Billion Bricks 4 because it combines architectural and pop-culture icons. The to-scale models of iconic New York City structures like the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty are fascinating, and the mashed-up, crazy combinations of superheroes and their vehicles chasing villains through a wacky landscape is just plain fun,” says Stamford Museum Curator Kirsten R. Brophy. “This exhibit is a great way for multi-generational families to enjoy an afternoon together.”
A “billion” bricks don’t just come together by themselves, and for this showstopper of an exhibit the Stamford Museum has its friends from ILUGNY to thank. I LUG NY – the acronym stands for LEGO User Group – was founded a half-dozen years ago and today comprises about 40 members, mostly adults, from across the Tri-state area. The I LUG NY members spend months planning and constructing the annual Billion Bricks exhibition for the Stamford Museum, which is far and away the group’s largest display of the year.
I LUG NY member Bill Probert got involved with LEGO more than 20 years ago, when his son was young. “Once he grew out of it, I really got into it,” says Probert with a chuckle while taking a break from putting the finishing touches on an elaborate, two-level Batman exhibit, which features a table-top rendering of Wayne Manor above an intricately detailed Bat Cave.
“We’ve intentionally placed the Bat Cave near ground level – and of course we’ll put it behind Plexiglas for safety’s sake,” explains Probert. “Kids love getting down on their hands and knees to look into it, and you’d be surprised how many adults drop down to the carpet, too.”
Probert speaks for countless other LEGO enthusiasts of all ages when he describes LEGO as being much more than a toy. “Sure, it all starts out as a box in a store, but the option to turn LEGO bricks into much more has always piqued my interest; the ‘playability’ of LEGO is vast.”
Probert and his fellow I LUG NY members also see LEGO as an educational tool, and to that end are helping the Stamford Museum conduct a series of interactive, family-oriented LEGO Workshops starting in January.
“If you’re building at home from LEGO instructions, it’s strictly visual; being a global brand they can’t rely on a specific language,” say Probert. “In our workshops, we speak the directions, which helps kids learn in a different way. They also see what other kids are doing, and learn from that. And since every single piece has a name, it’s also an introduction to naming conventions, another way to process information. And, of course, when you’re ‘freestyle building’ things like vehicles, which we then race down a track, it’s full-on creativity.”
The Stamford Museum’s A Billion Bricks 4: Superheroes in Gotham exhibition is open to the public Monday-Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm; Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm. Admission is free to SM&NC Members and children age 3 and under. Admission for non-members: $10 per adult; $8 seniors (65+); $6 students (18+, with valid ID); $5 children (4-17).
Registration for A Billion Bricks interactive family workshops begins December 5 for SM&NC Members; December 12 for non-members. Here’s the schedule and pricing information:
Saturday, January 7: Superhero Mobiles
Two sessions: 10 am–12 pm & 2–4 pm:
Build and race a LEGO brick car – Bring your favorite LEGO Superhero to add to your vehicle. Recommended for ages 6 and up, limited to 40 participants per session.
Sunday, January 8: Brick-Built Batman and Robin
Two sessions: 10 am–12 pm & 2–4 pm:
Build a “brick-built” Batman and Robin (that you get to keep). If time allows we can also build vehicles to race on the ramp. Recommended for ages 6 and up, limited to 40 participants per session.
Saturday & Sunday, January 21–22: Superhero Animation -- Lights! Camera! Action!
Two sessions each day: 10 am–12 pm & 2–4 pm
LEGO Superhero animation with ILUGNY facilitators, led by Alex Kobbs of Kooberz Studios. Learn how to film stop-action animation with LEGO creations and mini figures. Recommended for ages 10 and up, limited to 30 participants per session.
SM&NC Members: $40 (one adult & one child), $25 for each additional adult/child. Non-members: $55 (one adults & one child), $25 for each additional adult/child (includes Gate admission). Pre-registration and pre-payment are required for all workshops. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. Call 203.977.6521 to register.
LEGO® is a trademark belonging to LEGO® Systems A/S and is used throughout the exhibition with this understanding. The Stamford Museum & Nature Center thanks LEGO® for allowing the use of the term within our educational context.
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