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The Smithsonian National Museum of American History Excites Young Builders


The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a new exhibit called “The Nation We Build Together.” In the center of the lobby there is a 125 pound Lego replica of the Statue of Liberty. Lady liberty stands at nine-foot-tall  in the center of the second floor of the museum. Every detail went into the statue to help make it seem as realistic as possible. For instance, the 4 Master Builders  who created it used sand green LEGO bricks, instead of the typical gray bricks, to help make it look similar to how an observer would see it standing in the Hudson River in New York.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History Excites Young Builders

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History Excites Young Builders

Moreover, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History partnered with LEGO Systems to create a unique experience for visitors viewing “The Nation We Build Together” exhibit. One of the goals of this new exhibit is to help celebrate unity within our country. On opening day, many schools and families represented well. Visitors of all ages took part in a hands-on building activity. This hands-on opportunity gave attendees the chance to take home their very own miniature LEGO brick-built Statue of Liberty.

My daughters and I attended the Grand Opening of the exhibit and had a wonderful experience. By far, building a mini Statue of Liberty was a favorite activity among many of the young builders including my two daughters.

Visiting the museum was a fun experience. There were lots of fun family friendly activities to enjoy together. Pictured in the video below are a few photographs of our visit. Thus, visiting the museum shows how the infrastructure, culture, food, transportation, tools, and more have evolved. Overall, the Smithsonian Museum of American History is definitely an experience that any young Lego enthusiast would enjoy.

Specifics about the Statue Of Liberty Build

For young ambitious Lego builders, seeing the massive Lego structure in the Museum of American History is a major accomplishment that future master builders can aspire to do. The above video shares how the replica came together piece-by-piece. Just in case, a young builder wants to duplicate this enormous model, a steel beam in the center helps anchor the Lego replica. It took 4 Master Lego Builders about 6 months (January-March) and 292 hours to build the Statue of Liberty out of Lego bricks. The Master Builders proved that building isn’t just child’s play. It takes skill, knowledge and ability to build a reliable structure.

My young builders trip to The Smithsonian National Museum of American History was incredible!

Reader Question:

Can you guess how many bricks the Master Builders used to create the Statue of Liberty?

When you visit also check their new exhibits:

Landmark Object: 2 West
George Washington Statue

Horatio Greenough’s 12-ton marble statue of George Washington, modeled on the classic statuary of ancient Greece, serves as the landmark object for the second floor’s west wing. The statue was commissioned in 1832 by the U.S. Congress and transferred to the Smithsonian in 1908. The National Museum of American History’s building was designed to display the statue upon its opening in 1964.

“American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith”
Opens June 28

The Pete and Linda Claussen Hall of American Democracy

“American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith” explores the history of citizen participation, debate and compromise from the nation’s formation through today. The nation’s revolutionary decision to end monarchy and base its government solely on a sovereign “people” left each generation that followed to answer fundamental questions: Who are the people and how should they participate? Objects such as Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk, used to draft the Declaration of Independence; the inkstand Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation, and the table on which Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments for women’s political rights illuminate different generations’ continuing engagement with these vital American questions.

“Many Voices, One Nation”
Opens June 28

Hall of the American People

“Many Voices, One Nation” takes visitors on a chronological and thematic journey that maps the cultural geography of the unique and complex stories that animate the Latin emblem on the country’s Great Seal and our national ideal: E pluribus unum, Out of many, one.  Through almost 200 museum artifacts and about 100 loan objects, this exhibition shows how the many voices of the American people have contributed to and continue to shape the nation and its communities, from its earliest beginnings to the present.

A visual mosaic of faces graces the entrance wall, with images moving from the present to the past, leading visitors into the earliest chronological section of the exhibition (1492- 1776) which includes objects such as a Southwest painted Elk hide, circa 1693 and a 1729 Dutch bible. The exhibition continues chronologically as it helps visitors understand the never-ending process of becoming one nation.

[Thus,] Objects such as a Norwegian bowl brought by 19th century immigrants, a gold miners trunk, symbols of union and liberty such as Uncle Sam and Columbia, a baseball helmet used by Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski in the 1970s and a soccer jersey worn in 2013 by a player for a Georgia team composed of young refugees. The center of the exhibition provides a thematic look at where Americans negotiate their place in a community: in the workplace, on the playing field, in schoolrooms, in places of worship, and in the military. The exit experience is lightly interactive with a large map of the U.S. and territories made out of heat responsive tiles – which when touched – record for a few seconds a visitors’ presence as a handprint.

“Religion in Early America”
Opens June 28
The Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Gallery

The role of religion in the formation and development of the United States is at the heart of this one-year exhibition which explores the themes of religious diversity, freedom and growth from the colonial era through the 1840s. National treasures from the museum’s own collection will be on view, such as George Washington’s christening robe from 1732, Thomas Jefferson’s The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, which is also known as “The Jefferson Bible,” Wampum beads and the cloak worn by abolitionist Quaker minister Lucretia Mott.

[Furthermore,] significant objects on loan from museums, institutions and private individuals include Massachusetts Bay Colony-founder John Winthrop’s communion cup, circa 1630; a Torah scroll on loan from New York’s Congregation Shearith Israel, founded in 1654; a chalice used by John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the U.S. and founder of Georgetown University; and a first edition of the Book of Mormon. A new acquisition on view in the exhibition is an 800 pound Revere and Son bronze bell made in Boston in 1802 for a Maine Unitarian church. It later hung in the tower of the Stevens textile mill in North Andover, Mass. The bell is a gift of J. P. Stevens & Co., Inc., through the American Textile History Museum Collection. The exhibition represents the diverse range of Christian, Native American and African traditions as well as Mormonism, Islam and Judaism that wove through American life in this era.

“Within These Walls”

“Within These Walls,” showcases 200 years of American history as seen from the doorstep of one house that stood from Colonial days through the mid-1960s in Ipswich, Mass.  This 4,200-square-foot exhibition highlights five ordinary families whose lives within the walls of the house became part of the great changes and events of the nation’s past.

[In addition,] The largest artifact in the museum, the Georgian-style, 2 ½ – story timber-framed house was built in the 1760s, just 30 miles north of Boston and stood at 16 Elm Street until 1963 when efforts by Ipswich citizens saved it from destruction. Inside this house, American colonists created a new genteel lifestyle, patriots set out to fight the Revolution, and an African American struggled for freedom. Neighbors came together to end slavery, immigrants made a new home and earned a livelihood, and a woman and her grandson served on the home front during World War II. First opened in 2001, the exhibition is being updated in 2017-18 to reflect new research, including insights about the former enslaved man originally known only as Chance. This research will add to the understanding of slavery and liberty in Revolutionary-era New England.

“Common Ground: Our American Garden”
Opens June 28
Second Floor, Terrace
Smithsonian Gardens

The museum’s Terrace Gardens, which extend around the perimeter of the building, will feature “Common Ground: Our American Garden.” Smithsonian Gardens staff will share stories of memory, healing, discovery and ingenuity. These gardens include plants that were found here, brought from other countries or passed down by seed or shared with neighbors. Through this living exhibition, Smithsonian Gardens helps visitors see the impact of people and their plants on the American landscape.

“Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square”
The Greensboro Lunch Counter

American Experiments

The “whites only” Greensboro Lunch Counter where four African American students sat beginning Feb. 1, 1960, at the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, N.C., will be the centerpiece of Unity Square. Their request for service was refused, and the students remained seated in protest, beginning a six-month protest and boycott. The counter was desegregated that July and the sit-in was a watershed moment in the civil rights struggle. The lunch counter will feature a “magic mirror” that will transform into a video screen featuring a History Channel film with archival footage.

Visitors to the space can engage with several hands-on experience stations, designed to inspire the public to actively engage in American civic life. The activities will address the themes of the signature exhibitions and bring to life the interplay and participation necessary for a healthy democracy. [In fact,] each station can engage multiple visitors in a game-like activity that promotes conversation and discussion as well as a way to reflect upon democracy through each individual’s personal perspective. Source: (“Grand Opening Week: Experience The Nation We Build Together”, 2017)

References:

Grand Opening Week: Experience The Nation We Build Together. (2017). National Museum of American History. Retrieved 11 July 2017, from http://americanhistory.si.edu/press/releases/June-2017

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  • Museums are full of history and information
    I don’t visit them often but I the few times I did I learnt a lot

    N’Graffi Blog

    • I love visiting museums with my children. Hands on learning is often one of the best teaching tools for tactile learners.

  • We went last year and had a good time. My kids are into Legos. They would love this, we need to go back.

    • Yes, this was my first time going to this particular museum. The fact that it was interactive was really a plus!

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