Your turn! Move like a piece on a giant game board through three centuries of American games, puzzles, and public amusements at Game Time! an original permanent exhibit opening at the National Museum of Play at The Strong on April 13.
Visitors can enjoy rare historic treasures from The Strong’s game and puzzle collections—many never available to the public before. A gaggle of games both old and new invite families to jump right in for active hands-on fun. Feast your eyes on oversized toy props—from jumbo chess and Sorry game pieces at the entryway, to a towering domino tile, and a knight in shining armor standing guard over cases of role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.
A major timeline showcases artifacts, photographs, and multimedia to trace the history of board-, card-, and role-playing games from 1840 to the present day. Among the highlights are classic 19th-century board games such as The Mansion of Happiness (1843) and The Checkered Game of Life (1860), which carried serious moral messages and rewarded virtues like punctuality and sobriety while punishing less acceptable social behaviors. The Game of the District Messenger Boy (1886) showed how a humble letter carrier could climb the corporate ladder if he avoided temptation, and Tutoom (1923) made the best of public fascination with mummies.
Game Time! is phase two of a five-phase project to transform the museum’s second floor into America at Play, a highly interactive exhibit on the history of play in America. The first phase, eGameRevolution, explores electronic games. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Strong acknowledges the support of Greater Hudson Heritage Network for artifact preservation.