- Associated Press - Thursday, August 28, 2014

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Like any major brick-and-mortar event, February’s grand opening of the Evansville Museum’s new atrium entrance proved a popular draw, pulling 900 people to the museum in one day.

Bricks alone - tiny, interlocking plastic bricks - easily trumped that figure one Wednesday in July 2013, however, when representatives from Brickmania, a custom Lego set company from Minneapolis, displayed a 10-foot-long Lego replica of a landing ship tank in the Evansville Museum Transportation Center.

“We had 1,600 people come through in one day,” said Josh Gilmore, the museum’s membership and marketing director. “It was the busiest day we had had in about 15 years.”

Gilmore told the Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/VPOtW2 ) he expects even more to muster this time around, when Brickmania returns with a bigger display over two days in the museum’s largest gallery.

The exhibition, “World War II in Lego,” will feature ships, artillery, aircraft and armored vehicles from the European and Pacific battle theaters in a massive display open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Old Gallery.

This year the LST, built based on plans and pictures of LST 325, the restored World War II landing ship that makes its home in Evansville, will return in a diorama assembled from a half-million Lego bricks.

Other elements in the display will include an 11-foot-long model of the USS Nicholas, a Fletcher-class destroyer that escorted the USS Missouri into Tokyo Bay for the signing of Japan’s formal surrender, ending World War II in the Pacific. The ship also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, said Gilmore.

Both ships will share a diorama of the battle of Peleliu, fought between the United States and Japan from Sept. 15 to Nov. 27, 1944, in the Palau Islands.

Additional dioramas will depict the Battle of the Bulge, fought in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, near the end of the war in Europe, and a German street battle.

Lego models displayed will include World War II tanks, military vehicles, armaments and a P-51 Mustang with moving propellers, and other aircraft.

Last year’s smaller show brought a steady stream of children, teenagers and adults of all ages, including military veterans more interested in the ship than the Legos.

Lots of people, including many adults, love the little snap-together bricks, however, said Gilmore. “I’m one of those adults. I collect Legos and have most of my life. I still have all the Legos I had when I was a kid.”

His own collection has shifted from pirate kits to architectural kits, he said.

His 18-month-old son, Rainer, will get to play with them when he’s old enough, Gilmore said. For now, Rainer can play with his own set of Duplos interlocking toys, said his father.

Brickmania, which designs military models and packages its own kits from Lego components, will bring boxes of Legos for visitors to build their own models.

The company also will bring kits for sale, said Gilmore. “They’ll bring an entire store of things you can’t get anywhere else.”


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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