With Greek dancing, hoplite soldiers re-enacting life in ancient Athens, Greek food, and the chance to handle real ancient Greek artefacts, the exhibition The LEGO Acropolis opened recently at the Sydney University’s Quadrangle.
Organised by the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum, this free exhibition celebrates one of the ancient world’s iconic landmarks, the Acropolis of Athens. The LEGO Acropolis follows the success of the Nicholson Museum’s LEGO Colosseum, the most popular exhibition in Museum’s history.
Organisers now hope that the LEGO reconstruction of the Acropolis will be even more successful, aiming for 100,000 visitors and thousands of children to see the exhibition.
Built by Ryan McNaught, the only LEGO-certified professional in the southern hemisphere, The LEGO Acropolis contains more than 120,000 LEGO bricks and took about 300 hours to build. The buildings, including The Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the smaller Erechtheion temple and the Propylaia, the monumental gateway, are made from gleaming white bricks.
The exhibition shows the Acropolis both as it was in the fifth century BC and as it is today, as one of Greece’s most popular tourist attractions.
”The model is as close to the real Acropolis as I could make it. It’s not an architectural scale model; it’s more of a representation. The hardest parts were working out how to do all the diagonal lines,” McNaught said.
The LEGO Acropolis includes ancient and modern details. In the small Odeon, Theseus is winding his way through a labyrinth made of string to face the Minotaur. In the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Elton John is giving a concert to modern-day tourists. Lord Elgin and his crew can be seen stealing the marbles, while Sigmund Freud, who visited the Acropolis in 1904, looks on. Somehow, Gandalf, from The Lord of the Rings, makes an appearance, as does Tony Mokbel, the Australian fugitive arrested in Athens in 2008, complete with ill-fitting wig.
The exhibition also features ancient Greek archaeological artefacts from the museum’s extensive collection, including sculpture, pottery, and original 1890s photographs of the Acropolis.
The LEGO Acropolis is open until June 2014. The Nicholson Museum is the only museum in Australia, among 550 organisations internationally, to have signed up to the manifesto of ‘Kids in Museums’, an independent UK charity dedicated to making museums open and welcoming to all families, particularly those who haven’t visited before.
The LEGO Acropolis is the second in a trilogy of LEGO reconstructions, with LEGO Pompeii to follow in 2014.
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