Great Building Showdown returns to Augusta Museum June 29

It’s a fan favorite at the Augusta Museum of History, and this year it has a bit more whimsy thrown in.

Because of trademarks involving connecting plastic bricks made at a company headquartered in Denmark, the event is called the Great Building Showdown and opens June 29.

Art from the Miller Theater recreated at the Great Building Showdown at the Augusta Museum of History. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Usually, the showdown involves those bricks being used to create historical buildings around the area, but Nancy Glaser, the museum’s director, said that some of the teams that usually compete “ran out of time” to complete their pieces.

The undertaking is massive — create a historic building to scale and replicate it as close to possible using those bricks. Teams often go the extra mile with their details.

This year, there are a few historical pieces with nods to history such as Mark Lohra’s Imperial Theatre and his replica of the art inside the Miller Theater.

Lohra didn’t just build the outer shell of the Imperial Theatre. He added seats, a stage, an orchestra pit and dressing rooms as well as the performers readying for The Nutcracker on stage with the musicians prepared to play.

Other sculptures are more “whimsical,” Glaser said.

Matthew and Sandra Hines of Evans made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2021 for having the “largest collection of LEGO Star Wars interlocking plastic brick sets” with 789 sets.

Some of the Star Wars’ creations on display are from sets, but Matthew Hines built several large-scale pieces such as the Death Star from plans he drew up, according to Glaser, who is already making plans for next year’s event.

Glaser wants to get teams started on their project early so they’ll have plenty of time to finish.

She’s already talked to Mark Lohra about building a historical paddleboat, which once glided along the Savannah River.

The museum is usually only open to the public Thursday through Sunday, but it will be open July 3-5 for people to come see the Great Building Showdown and play with some of the blocks that are available at tables in the museum’s rotunda. 

The Great Building Showdown will be on display through July 9.

People can enter the rotunda without paying the admission fee. To see the rest of the museum and exhibits such as the one for James Brown, admission is $5 for adults; $4 for senior adults; $3 for children between the ages of 6 and 18 and free for children under 6 and museum members.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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