Building excitement: New exhibit takes people into world of Minecraft

The piercing purple eyes of an enderman cut through the gloomy dungeon.

Skeletons and phantoms appear around the corners. Heroes armed with pickaxes and bows emerge as protectors. A green entity called a creeper materializes out of nothing before exploding in a puff of smoke.

Inside the newest exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, you don’t just learn about the world of the immensely popular video game Minecraft — you become part of it.

“We hope people take away that Minecraft is for everyone. Within the game itself, you have limitless possibilities,” said Erica Lacey, senior exhibits project manager at the museum. “There are no boundaries in Minecraft. Whatever you imagine, you can create, and I think that’s really important to what we believe at the Children’s Museum.”

Local audiences have a chance to immerse themselves in the best-selling video game of all time during “Minecraft: The Exhibition,” which opens Saturday at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The bombastic showcase allows fans and noobs alike to see oversized versions of their favorite characters, enter actual scenes brought to life and, of course, tell their own stories playing different versions of the game.

Visitors to the exhibition also can learn how Minecraft has helped kids around the globe to make real-world impacts in their own communities.

“There’s a huge following, and we know it’s something that people of all ages are interested in. What we promote at the museum is people of all ages getting learning opportunities that is cross-generational,” Lacey said.

“Minecraft: The Exhibition” was created by the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, in partnership with Mojang Studios, the game’s developer.

The exhibition opened in 2019 in celebration of the game’s 10th anniversary while exploring how it has grown into a platform for unlimited creative expression, community-crafting and inspiration to build a better world outside of the game.

“We wanted to bring Minecraft to life in the museum to explore it more deeply, celebrate its community, and share this important phenomenon with the world,” said Brooks Peck, senior curator of the Museum of Pop Culture, at the exhibition’s opening in 2019.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis becomes just the third museum to feature the exhibition, and the first children’s museum to do so. An opportunity to showcase such a popular and important cultural phenomenon was important to museum officials, Lacey said.

“We were fascinated by the brand Minecraft, and the popularity. It is the No. 1 best-selling video game of all time, and we really wanted to bring the exhibit to our constituents, because it is very immersive and also educational,” she said.

People can encounter real scenes borrowed directly from the game, as well as meet life-size mobs — the characters and entities that populate the game. They’ll marvel at detailed dioramas of Minecraft’s various biomes, such as the Warm Ocean, Snowy Taiga and Bamboo Jungle. Real-life crafting tables allow guests to put concepts learned in the game to use themselves.

On video screens throughout the exhibition, visitors can hear from Mojang developers and YouTube stars on the evolution of the game.

What will surely to be the most popular attraction is the gaming stations, where on 16 different screens, people can sit down and play Minecraft themselves.

“Whether you’re a player or a non-player, you can learn about Minecraft,” Lacey said. “If you’re a player, you can learn some tricks and become even more expert in what you do.”

But while the exhibition celebrates the joy of building through the game, a whole section also highlights how Minecraft has been applied to better people’s lives. Visitors can learn about a group from Hanoi, Vietnam, that used the game to make the area around their school safer.

Other efforts include gamers helping raise money for the Worldwide Wildlife Federation by placing bamboo blocks in the game, and helping support coral reef development off the coast of Mexico.

“There is a section in the exhibit that is all about education in our communities and how Minecraft has impacted real-life changes — not only in the classroom with children using the education edition to learn about subjects like math and geography and social studies, but used by people to solve real-world problems,” Lacey said.

“Minecraft: The Exhibition” is on display at the Children’s Museum until Aug. 6, and entrance is included in general admission.


“Minecraft: The Exhibition”

What: An interactive feature allowing you to explore the limitless possibilities as you develop problem-solving skills, discover new design concepts and create innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Where: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St.

When: March 11-Aug. 6