The staff of the Indiana Young Readers Center are extremely excited to welcome Jeffrey Smythe’s Lego rendition of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to the Indiana Young Readers Center just in time for the holidays. The monument will be on display at the Indiana State Library and free to see during regular business hours from now until Valentine’s Day.
From the diary of Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book and Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian:
After weeks of emails and planning and measuring, the day finally arrived! Jeffrey brought the Lego Monument to the ISL today! It was going to be a bustling day anyway, as the whole State Library was topsy turvy with holiday decorating. Every division came out to decorate the evergreen trees found in many corners of our building. I love the trees with glass cardinals and owls gracing their branches, and our Giving Tree near the front door is a nice addition for this year.
But no tree took longer to assemble than our Lego monument “tree.” Jeffrey showed up around 9 a.m. with the first panels and sections of the monument. He knew right away that he would not be able to get it in one car load, so we unloaded and he headed back to Greenwood for more.
Here’s Caitlyn – IYRC staff, and Joe and Jeffrey unloading the monument. Jeffrey even has Lady Victory in his arm! We made good use of the library’s many flatbed carts, although we had to jockey all day with other library staff who kept using them for the Christmas trees. I love this picture because you can see that inside the monument are Legos of many colors! Not only that… there are Duplos in there!
It took three trips in the car to get the monument to the library. It did not arrive all in one piece; rather it came in several carefully-packed sections.
We knew right away that we would definitely need the three 8-foot tables that we had allocated for the monument. Jeffrey was delighted with the space we had chosen – right in front of a window on the east side of the building. Black tablecloths were scrounged up and the real assembly began.
There is so much detail on the monument! The actual monument is full of statue groupings and bronze and limestone features. I loved reading this article about the artist for the actual monument. I’m sure Jeffrey read it too, as he researched for three months before even putting two bricks together. Jeffrey did his best, scaling down the monument to a 1:48 scale to accommodate Lego minifigures. That’s one inch of Legos for every 4 feet in real life.
There was a tricky moment when it was time to slide the steps in and attach them to the main center piece. We discovered that our tables are not exactly the same height! Thank goodness Jeffrey brought some extra bricks – actually some flat platform pieces of uniform color – to prop up the panels so everything could hook in correctly.
Here’s the water in one of the two pools. Jeffrey said he tried three different versions of the water before he was satisfied with how it looked. It looks good enough to swim in!
Caitlyn and I made the mistake of going to lunch and when we got back, the lights were on and everything! It was glorious! There were still hours of work ahead, as Jeffrey had to install all the corner sections and Joe went to work snapping in hundreds of flowers. There are about 50 minifigures that had to be installed as well, including Mickey, Minnie, E.T. and the Powerpuff Girls. We are writing up a seek-and-find for visitors who want a challenge.
Colleague Stephanie Smith looks on as Jeffrey puts the finishing touches on the monument. She literally gasped when she walked into the room. It is that breathtaking!
Around 3 p.m. we had the final bricks snapped in. By 4 p.m. we finished adjusting the stanchions and putting up our “Do Not Touch” signs and a little bit of information about Jeffrey. It’s just amazing. I hope lots of people can come and see the Lego Monument. It’s certainly been a great way to start the holiday season for me!
Submitted by Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian at the Indiana State Library and director of the Indiana Center for the Book.
Simply amazing, Jeffrey. Will you be showing the Lego Soldiers and Sailors Monument at future Lego exhibits/events around the state in 2019? Are their plans to exhibit this work of art during the Indianapolis Bicentennial celebration events/activities June 2020–Summer 2021? Assuming you will eventually de-construct this work, do you have plans to formally publish your design plans if future Lego builders want to re-construct the Lego Soldiers and Sailors Monument structure? I know the Indiana State Library would like to have a copy of the published or manuscript building plans for its Indiana Collection.