FFD – Toylands! Exhibit at the Shaker Heights Historical Society

When I was studying to be a teacher in college, I based my personal teaching philosophy on a fabulous quote from Walt Disney – “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”  I have found that no matter how old we get, we always appreciate it when learning is both educational and fun.

This Family Fun Day does just that!




Shaker Heights Historical Society – Toylands! Exhibit

Established in 1947, the Shaker Heights Historical Society is a non-profit organization focused on preserving local history.  The museum is located in one of the first homes built on South Park Boulevard, erected in 1910.  The first floor displays artifacts about Shaker and its surrounding areas, while the second floor contains the Elizabeth Nord Research Library – which is available by appointment only.  One permanent exhibit tells the stories of two boys from Wooster in the 1880’s, whose leadership led to the founding of Shaker Heights, the Rapid, and the Terminal Tower.  You can also view a video about settlers in the 1800’s, while exploring the trades of the time.

In addition to the permanent collections, the Shaker Heights Historical Society is hosting the Toylands! Exhibit, which is the focus of this Family Fun Day.  The exhibit, which will be on display until January 25th, includes various mosaics and displays that are constructed completely out of tiny LEGO® bricks and tiles.  You will find replicas of your favorite childhood characters, colorful mosaics, and detailed models of buildings – including some local ones in Shaker Heights.

This video from Cleveland.com showcases one of my favorite displays – a retelling of the classic story, “The Wizard of Oz”.1



In addition, there are hands on LEGO® experiences available for the kids…and possibly the husbands, too!  I know plenty of grown men who still love to build with LEGO® bricks.


The entire event is being presented in conjunction with NeoLUG – the Northeastern Ohio Lego Users Guild.  The club was created in 2010 to bring together adults with a passion for LEGO® bricks.  NeoLUG may be small, but they have been featured at several different area locations and events – including Christmas at the Hollow, Canal Center Train Days, and the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.  (For more information on NeoLUG, you can visit their website at http://www.neolug.com.)






  • The Shaker Heights Historical Society is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 – 5 p.m.  They are closed on Mondays and Saturdays.  The exhibit runs through Sunday, January 25th.


  • Admission is free for children under 6. Children ages 6 to 18 are just $2 and adults are only $4.  Shaker Heights Society members also receive free admission.


  • The Shaker Heights Historical Society is located at 16740 South Park Boulevard, Shaker Heights, OH 44120.


  • You can reach the Shaker Heights Historical Society at 216-921-1201.


  • Since the museum is in a historical home, it is not ADA accessible. However, the society will happily accommodate as best they can.  Call the number above before planning your trip to discuss how they can help you.
  • If you have time, be sure to visit “Awash in Color – Paintings by Wally Kaplan and Rita Schuenemann”. However, the paintings will only be on display until January 18th.

Discussion Points

  • This is a great time to talk about estimation. At each display, ask your kids how many LEGO® bricks they think it took and how long the builder spent making it.
  • For three-dimensional pieces, ask your kids if they think the piece is whole or hollow? You can discuss the difference with smaller children.  For older kids, have them defend their answer.
  • Take a look at some of the buildings. If you were to decide to construct a building out of LEGO® bricks, where would you start?  What would be the steps in your planning process?
  • Ask your kids what they would like to build out of LEGO® bricks. What building?  What monument?  Which character?  A scene from what movie?  The possibilities are endless!


1 Neely, Chanda. “Toylands!” Cleveland.com. Plain Dealer Publishing Company, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <http://www.cleveland.com/shaker-heights/index.ssf/2014/12/lego_exhibit_includes_mosaics.html#6>.

 Photo Copyright: [shaker-historical-society-and-museum]. Retrieved December 12, 2014 from www.shakerworkshops.com.

 Photo Copyright: [Untitled Image]. Retrieved December 12, 2014 from www.cacgrants.org

 Photo Copyright: [Mike Tyson]. Retrieved December 12, 2014 from www.cleveland.com.

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Dave Hoffman