Good Display at the Library

Decent Sized Layout

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Jennifer and I put together a little display of our Micropolis modules at the library yesterday. I took the photo above just before we started to take it apart and get it home. I have no idea who the kid is, but I think the image turned out pretty well even if a solitary figure like that doesn’t given any good idea of how busy it got.

Going in yesterday afternoon we really didn’t know how many people were going to show up. We had put it together on pretty short notice so it hadn’t gotten into the Library’s regular promotional material and we had only sent it around to the neighborhood mailing list and a few groups and friends. So we were very slightly worried that very few people were going to show. Well, there were no worries about that.

We don’t really have any good way of estimating how many people came through, though the consensus appears to be that we can safely figure there were at least a hundred people who came through. From there, depending on who you ask, it was maybe as high as three hundred. The first hour was the most busy and for awhile the crowd around Micropolis was 2-3 deep.

Peter’s display got a lot of attention too and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t really hoarse given how much chatting he did with people while demonstrating his stuff. I was pretty sure he’d be a good fit when we invited him to show with us and I’m glad I was right. He really has a great way of interacting with everyone. When I asked him how well he thought it went during the display, he answered by showing me that he had handed out a third of the brochures for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s summer education series. Granted, this neighborhood is a pretty good crowd for that sort of thing and you can never tell how many of those made it home AND didn’t go immediately into the recycling bin, but it’s at least a nice anecdotal metric.

I should also publicly and sincerely thank my sister and brother-in-law who came in and monitored our free play areas for us while we were busy interacting with everyone around the main display. The library had said that having bins of parts out for general play would be absolutely fine but that they had to be closely monitored for liability reasons. Becca and Raulie arrived in plenty of time and took care of things for the full two hours. Having those areas available so that when the kids got done NOT being able to touch the city they could go and put together their own stuff worked out beautifully, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

As for the Micropolis display itself it ended up being a perfect rectangle at 5.5 by 10.5 blocks. Considering that it only included modules that the two of us own I am really proud of the size of that display. We did leave out two lesser quarter block modules and some waterfront but it wasn’t a tough choice to do so. It was also extremely gratifying to finally see a properly complete Bluff portion of the display. Up until this point my gorge module has always had to be tucked away into a corner because we didn’t have enough other bluff modules to cover two of the sides but the spurt of building in the last couple of weeks meant that finally we had a nice hill. Three of those modules are non-compliant with the spec, but in a case like this it’s easy to make that kind of exception. In a larger display with more contributors I think it still might work but we’ll have to see.

As usual one of the most common questions we got was, “How many LEGO bricks/parts are in this?” and I had taken the time to figure out an answer before we got there: About 100,000. I think we’re probably easily within 10-15% of that, but at some point I’m going to have to figure out a more accurate number. I arrived at that estimate by estimating an average of 500 parts per quarter block. If we expand that out to 5.5 x 10.5 blocks or 11 x 21 quarter blocks, which is 231 quarter blocks times 500 to get 115,500. I do think it’s possible that the average per quarter block is a bit high but I don’t see it being any lower then 400 and that still puts us in spitting distance of 100,000 so I’m just going to go with that for now.

I find it consistently interesting seeing what other people appreciate in a bigger layout like this. Living with the collection and getting the family’s opinion tends to split two, and occasionally three, ways depending on where Jennifer and I are at on particular questions. Run about a hundred people through the room though and the diversity of opinion explodes. People point out modules that maybe one of us thinks isn’t the best work, but something about it speaks to that individual. It’s a great thing to watch happen.

In any case, I think we can call the display an unqualified success. We’re vaguely discussing the possibility of doing it again next year. In many ways though, it was a good dress rehearsal for two weeks from now in Des Moines, IA.

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