My name is Shona Ashton. I am a member of the Design Cohort for NMiTE and sure, I used to enjoy LEGO; now I eat, sleep and breathe it. I have been working with Hereford Museum since November because they asked for NMiTE’s partnership in preparing for a huge ‘Brick History’ Exhibition by Warren Elsmore that will be in the Museum from 16th March until 17th May. It will be displaying the history of the world through LEGO.
Five months on and many amazing things have happened. In December I got to take over the Design Cohort for a week while we looked at engineering through LEGO. Everything from using LEGO CAD software to create 3D visualisations of the history of Hereford to creating LEGO-style moulds for chocolate and jelly and looking into the practicalities of building a life-size bull will a LEGO carcass (it proved impractical). The visualisations will now be displayed on banners in the staircase of the Museum.
I am currently finishing off a LEGO model of the Black and White House made of over 5000 LEGO bricks which will be displayed in the museum along with other models made by NMiTE during out LEGO week. It has been amazing to explore the educational power of ‘learning by doing’ exemplified by LEGO and it gives me hope that the NMiTE approach to learning will not only be successful but also enjoyable. Even those who had previously been less than passionate amongst us seemed inspired by the project and the support from the local community has been amazing; local adults and kids alike come over to look at the LEGO currently displayed in our window on St Peter’s street and every time I go out somebody asks me how the LEGO Black and White House model is going. (To which I respond – it’s a lot of bricks).
Going forwards the DC will be running a selection of simple LEGO engineering challenges for kids. We hope to inspire the next generation of engineers while also supporting the local community. The exhibition’s success should bring in families from far and wide to Hereford.
What have I learnt? Never underestimate the power of creativity and passion – even for the most childish of things.