Lessons from displaying at a LEGO show

18 July 2015

LEGO cow looking at a pond

I recently displayed as part of a LEGO show at Durham Cathedral to help celebrate the LEGO model of the cathedral’s second birthday.

I treated this as a test run for the Bricktastic LEGO show in Manchester (now under 3 weeks away!), as I wanted to see just how much space the LEGO boxes would take in the car. So, these are the lessons I learned from displaying my LEGO, as well as the things that worked well and I could keep.

What worked well at the LEGO show

LEGO trains passing a combine harvester and corn field

I had a lot of great feedback on the day, and the things listed below worked well in particular:

  1. the hidden scenarios in the display (such as the extra terrestrial in the corn field and the builder “caught short” on the portaloo) caught people’s eyes as they looked more closely: well worth the little extra effort they took to incorporate!
  2. including real LEGO sets allowed visitors to identify with the LEGO a little more (“Oh, we’ve got that one at home!”), as well as saving me a lot of time (and money!)
  3. saying “hello” to people as they came to look was a good way to get them talking about what they liked, and give me important feedback for this article and changes to the display for the next show. It was also a useful way of reminding parents to keep a check on their children a little bit!
  4. people are amazed at how far LEGO has come since they were a child (“I thought it was just blue and yellow blocks”). There were lots of questions, so it’s good to have some background knowledge and recommendations for local LUGs to help grow the community
  5. I had hard landscaping such as the pond and farm track pre-built on to the baseplates, which made set-up very quick – it was a matter of applying flowers, trees and vehicles after that. The corn (around 150 – 200 pieces in total) took quite a while to get right on the day, but I now have a good idea of what I need to do in the next show to get it looking right.
  6. Tear down was also fairly quick (10/15 minutes) as each detail that need to come off (e.g., 5 telegraph poles, the corn pieces, the flower stalks, the trees, the catenary wires for the track) had their own boxes to go back in to

What I learned from displaying at the LEGO show

LEGO combine harvester in a corn field
  1. the two LEGO trains at the front of the display looked good, but blocked the scenery behind them (as they weren’t moving for this display). Luckily, the show in Manchester will feature moving trains so this won’t be an issue!
  2. people did touch the LEGO. I’m not too precious about my LEGO (as I tend not to display my favourite sets, and purposely don’t position anything delicate towards the front), so. LEGO is meant to be fun, so of course kids people (I spotted one adult having a good go at pushing a train up and down!) are going to touch it: it’s a form of torture displaying fun-looking LEGO you can’t touch. Nothing was stolen, and no damage was done – though I was pretty vigilant on the day.

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