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LEGO fans will definitely want to stop by Pigeon Forge’s Titanic Museum Attraction during their next vacation! Throughout the 2018 season, the museum will display a replica of the RMS Titanic that was built entirely out of LEGOs. Made from 56,000 bricks, the 26-foot long ship is the largest LEGO replica of the Titanic in the world. The Titanic Museum Attraction is the first and only place in the United States where the LEGO ship can be seen.
This incredible work of art was built by Brynjar Karl Birgisson, an Icelandic boy who was only 10 years old when he constructed the ship. Brynjar, who has autism, found building the LEGO ship to be a transformative experience. When he began the project, Brynjar could hardly communicate with others. Now, Brynjar gives interviews and presentations all around the world, sharing his story and educating audiences about autism.
Origins of the LEGO Titanic
Diagnosed with autism when he was 5 years old, Brynjar Karl found himself “trapped behind a fog.” The words he wanted to say wouldn’t come out correctly, he found it difficult to make friends, and he felt lonely and isolated.
Brynjar spent most of his free time pursuing individual projects, with LEGO building and learning about ships being his two favorite activities. Around the age of 10, Brynjar became fascinated with the RMS Titanic. He read about the Titanic, drew pictures of the Titanic, put together a Titanic jigsaw puzzle, and even baked a Titanic cake!
One day, Brynjar envisioned an incredibly ambitious project. He wanted to build a model of the Titanic using LEGOS that would be completely to scale, assuming a LEGO man was the size of an average passenger. As Brynjar explains it, “I just had to build that amazing ship, and there was not a doubt in my mind that I could do it.”
How the LEGO Titanic Was Built
With help from his grandfather (who is an engineer), Brynjar downloaded an original blueprint of the RMS Titanic and scaled the designs down to LEGO size. Their calculations indicated that it would take 56,000 LEGO bricks to build the ship. In order to obtain all of the bricks he needed, Brynjar and his mom launched an online crowdfunding campaign. Together, they raised around $6,000 along with donations of old LEGO bricks.
Because the ship was going to be 26 feet long, Brynjar built his model in a warehouse that belonged to the main LEGO wholesaler in Iceland. Every day after school, Brynjar would come to the warehouse to work on his project. It ultimately took 700 hours over 11 months to complete the project. You can see Brynjar working on the ship in this video from the Discovery Channel:
Although having autism has been difficult for Brynjar, when it came to building the LEGO Titanic, it was actually helpful. Brynjar’s obsessive tendencies and affinity for repetitive tasks were an asset as he completed this monumental undertaking, and he has called these qualities his “autistic X factor.” Of course, the driving force behind Brynjar’s success was also his incredible determination and positive attitude.
LEGO Titanic on Tour
Brynjar and his LEGO Titanic have traveled the world, with exhibits in Sweden, Norway, Germany, and now Pigeon Forge. In an interview with the Titanic Museum Attraction, Brynjar explains what this life-changing experience has meant to him:
“This whole journey has helped me out of my autistic fog….It has given me confidence. When I started the building process I had a person helping me in school in every step that I took, but today, I’m studying without any support. My grades have risen and my classmates consider me as their peer. I have had the opportunity to travel and explore and meet wonderful people.”
Ready to start planning your trip to see the LEGO Titanic? Click the green box below to save $6 on admission to the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge: