Art And Culture

Lego Blocks Recreate Ancient City of Pompeii

Lego Blocks Recreate Ancient City of PompeiiLego Blocks Recreate Ancient City of Pompeii

Lego Pompeii was painstakingly recreated from more than 190,000 individual blocks across 470 hours for Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum – the largest model of the ancient city ever constructed out of Lego blocks.

There is a mix of ancient and modern elements within the model’s narrative; displaying Pompeii as it was at the moment of destruction by the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD, as it was when rediscovered in the 1700s, and as it is today.

According to the Rawstory website, the historical model is the exhibition centerpiece in an archaeological museum where, until recently, displays of Lego would have been unthinkable.

The Nicholson Museum, with collections of artifacts from the Mediterranean region, Egypt and the Middle East, is a place where visitors can expect to see Greek vases, Egyptian sculpture and ceramic sherds from the West Bank town of Jericho.

Yet since 2012, the museum has commissioned professional Lego builder Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught to recreate three ancient sites made from Lego. Together these models represent an interesting experiment; attracting a new audience to the museum and “demonstrating the importance of fun in a museum context.”

  Other Models

The first Nicholson Lego scale model was a replica of the Colosseum in Rome. The joy of the model was its ability to contrast the old with the new. Half the model featured the amphitheatre in antiquity; the other half featured the building in ruins with Lego modern tourists.

The model proved such a success it subsequently toured several regional galleries and museums. It is currently displayed at the Albury Regional Art Gallery along with Roman artifacts from the Nicholson Museum’s collection.

The second model, opened in 2013, was the Lego Acropolis, which featured buildings of ancient Athens peopled with historical Greek figures. It is now displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

McNaught’s latest and most ambitious construction, Lego Pompeii, as with previous creations, also sits firmly at the centre of the museum’s educational aspirations.

The Nicholson Museum is not the only museum to have used Lego and other “non-traditional” materials for displays. The Museum of Sydney’s current exhibition Towers of Tomorrow features Lego models of iconic buildings.

The Lego Pompeii exhibition runs until December 31, 2015.