The NEW Lego: The Art of the Brick Exhibit at the Franklin Institute is the Best Ever

The largest piece of the exhibit, this dinosaur was made of over 80,000 bricks!
The largest piece of the exhibit, this dinosaur was made of over 80,000 bricks!
2/18/24 - By Cait Sumner

Whether you're a LEGO® lover or not, we're all familiar with one of the most popular toys of all time. The newest exhibit at The Franklin Institute, The Art of the Brick, takes LEGO® to a whole new level. In this special exhibit by artist Nathan Sawaya, LEGO® are not just toys, they're pure art.

You'll be blown away by incredible artworks all made of these tiny bricks! Find out why this is the best thing to happen to Philly since the cheese steak...


I've been to a lot of the special exhibits at The Franklin Institute, but I have to say this one is by far my favorite. My kids and my partner are all pretty LEGO® obsessed, so we were excited to check out this exhibit. When you first walk in, you'll be introduced to the artist Nathan Sawaya in a short video.

The Franklin Institute's LEGO The Art of the Brick Exhibit
In addition to original artworks, check out the incredible re-imagined works of art.

If you stick around for the whole video, you'll even get a special surprise at the end. The first room you enter features actual works of art recreated out of LEGO®. My oldest could not believe that there was a brick Mona Lisa and Starry Night. You'll be completely amazed by how something so square can be made to look so fluid.

But the exhibit isn't all recreations! You'll also see lots of original works by the artist dealing with big feelings and relatable life moments. I really loved that the labels were written in the first person by the artist himself and spoke in a way that kids could understand. Rarely do we read things like these at museums, but my kids were generally interested to know what went into making these works of art. Each label also told you how many bricks the piece was made out of, which was really cool to see. The exhibit also featured the largest piece Sawaya has ever made, taking him an entire summer to complete and comprised of over 80,000 bricks!

The Franklin Institute's LEGO The Art of the Brick Exhibit
Be aware that the artwork is not protected, so you'll need to keep a close eye on toddlers.

I will say that the artwork is really out there for you to see, meaning it's not behind glass or well protected. I found this to be really nice for viewing the artwork, but I did see a lot of parents struggling with toddlers who wanted to investigate the art more closely. Strollers are allowed, so if you have a smaller one who might want to get up close and touch the art, you may want to strap them in for this one.

The exhibit isn't just for viewing though, once you make your way to the end of the exhibit, there's an entire area for you and your family to get creative. There's a plate wall to decorate, a giant table for city building, a race track for cars, and even a DUPLO® room for your youngest builders. This was, of course, my kids favorite part. I think they would have stayed and played for hours if I'd let them.

Some of the pieces are truly massive and incredible.

The exhibit itself takes about an hour to walk through, depending on your pace, but kids will want time to stay and play before you head out. You will have to pass through the gift shop on your way out, which features lots of LEGO® and themed items, so be prepared for merch requests from your kiddos! 

The Art of the Brick runs through September 2nd. Timed tickets are available online ($39 for kids and $43 for adults) and there are discounts for members. There are also evening tickets (5 PM to close Thursday-Sunday) that save you a little money, but do not include entrance to the rest of the museum.

LEGO  Art of the Brick
Create your own brick works of art at the end of the exhibit.

What to know before you go:

  • You'll need about an hour to walk through the exhibit itself.
  • Bring a stroller for toddlers, or keep a very close eye on them as they'll be tempted to touch or climb on some of the art.
  • Plan to stay and play after you walk through the exhibit as there's a lot of fun things for kids to do in the playspace.
  • Check out the evening tickets, which are available 5 PM to close Thursday through Sunday for only $20 each. Evening tickets are for the exhibit only, so you won't be able to check out the rest of the museum with these.
  • You'll have to exit into the gift shop, so be prepared for kids to want to buy something.

Photos by the author

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