For two days this month, hundreds of interlocking plastic bricks will connect trains, toys and DuPage County history.
The DuPage County Historical Museum will host its annual Lego Train Show display created by the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club. The club is known for its elaborate train layouts featuring landscapes created entirely from Lego pieces. Most recently, the club set up a holiday display in December at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.
If you goWhat: Lego Train Show
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb 20 and 21
Where: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton
Cost: Recommended donation of $4
The train club began its partnership with the museum three years ago when museum staff members were hoping to bring in an exhibit that would compliment the "All Aboard" exhibit exploring DuPage's railroad history and the HO-gauge model train layout permanently on display on the museum's lower level.
The DuPage Society of Model Engineers maintains the display and operates the trains the third and fifth Saturdays each month.
Not only did the Lego train show relate to the museum's model trains, but Legos are a "historical toy" that parallel the museum's mission, said Michelle Podkowa, museum manager and educator.
The DuPage County Historical Museum aims to educate people about life in DuPage County in the past and how the county's history relates to that of Illinois as well as the entire nation.
"Themes like trains do that," Podkowa said. "Trains were a huge factor in the 1800s that changed life as everyone knew it and that is something DuPage County experienced firsthand."
The exhibit doesn't provide just a historical perspective on toys, but also fun for a chilly February weekend. Podkowa encourages anyone who loves Legos, trains or historic toys -- or who just wants a fun getaway on a winter day -- to experience the exhibit.
"I love watching the responses to it," Podkowa said, "and the reactions on people's faces when they first see the set up -- their faces light up."
The Lego train layout also connects to the museum's "Fun Unplugged," a series of three exhibits that look at how children spent their time, including a display of toys prior to electronics.
Besides the Lego Train Show, the museum's other displays will be open, including the model train exhibit "Fun Unplugged" and "Wedding Traditions Unveiled."
Podkowa praised the efforts of the train club members.
"It's spectacular to see such a large-scale use of such small toys," she said.
Whether you're reminiscing about your childhood or helping your children experience theirs, the Lego Train Show provides entertainment for the whole family, Podkowa said.
The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20 and 21, at the DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton. Admission is free, with a recommended donation of $4. For information, visit dupagemuseum.org.