JOPLIN, Mo. — You may know by now that this is the 150th anniversary of the founding of Joplin.
Of all the events designed to celebrate the milestone, only one is specifically geared toward teenagers.
A group of 30 area young people ranging in age from 13 to 16, divided into six teams to research Joplin landmarks and then recreate them using the popular plastic building blocks.
Since most of the structures they selected are much older than they are, they had to do some leg work before they could do Lego work.
“No one teaches local history to children or adults, and so there was so much to learn, and these teens they went on site and had tours where possible and they also accessed resources at the museum, at the library online,” said Lisa Nelson, Founder, Landmark Builds.
Work on the research and construction process started back in December and is now complete and on display inside the Spiva Center for the Arts.
The landmarks include the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout, Grand Falls, the Joplin Public Library, the Olivia Apartments, Joplin Union Depot, and Crystal Cave.
Nelson says team members weren’t the only ones learning on location.
“I had no idea that Grand Falls featured a Ferris wheel, a theatre, a kiosk for food, a pavilion built out over the water, I learned right alongside the team,” said Nelson.
She says you have to see the detail in order to appreciate the finished product.
“Unlike Lego builds where you buy them off the shelf and they come with instructions, they had a random selection of bricks available and they were very creative in bringing the landmarks to life in quite authentic ways with what they had to work with,” said Nelson.
The Iconic Joplin exhibit is on display through May 13th and is free and open to the public.