Atari by Design: From Concept to Creation Opens at the National Museum of Play in June

GauntletDesignSee the creative thinking behind the finished designs of some of the most popular video arcade games at Atari by Design: From Concept to Creation, a new display opening at the National Museum of Play at The Strong Saturday, June 22.

The display offers game enthusiasts a rare opportunity to delve into the development of GauntletStreet FighterGran Trak 10Red Baron, and Gotcha. Game cabinets are paired with displays of preliminary designs, drawings, and sketches that went into their creation as well as some of the fliers and advertising materials used to promote their sale. Several of the machines, including Street Fighter and Gauntlet, are available for play. The display is produced by The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG). [Read more...]

Experience the Lego Travel Adventure of the National Museum of Play

SailorwebFly, drive, or float anywhere your imagination can take you at Lego Travel Adventure at the National Museum of Play at The Strong through Sunday, May 12. The exhibit invites guests to pose for pictures among colorful backdrops, invent extraordinary vehicles at kid-friendly Lego brick stations, and be inspired by eye-popping Lego brick sculptures built by Lego Master Builders.

Among the many hands-on activities:

  • Kids and families can invent their own vehicles at building stations brimming with Lego bricks and Lego Duplo bricks, car bodies, tracks, and other accessories.
  • Preschoolers can race their creations along two downhill tracks with lanes sized especially for Lego Duplo cars.
  • Kids can pretend to fly above the clouds in the cockpit of a giant Travel Adventure Vehicle or hit the road in a child-sized race car made entirely out of Lego Duplo bricks.
  • Families can photograph their vehicles against destination backdrops and email the photos to themselves or to family and friends. Guests can also build their own virtual Lego vehicle on a customized computer program.
  • Museum guests can see models and dioramas built by Lego Master Builders. Display cases capture key moments in travel history—the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, Henry Ford’s automobile factory and Model T, the first giant steamship, and the first continental railroad.
  • Additional displays feature Lego brick vehicles set against travel destination landmarks including the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Paris Arc de Triomphe, Hawaiian Island, and Cape Canaveral. The Travel Adventure Vehicle (T.A.V.), an imaginary, multi-use vehicle, carries minifigure families on journeys through the clouds, under rivers, and up mountain roads.

The Strong Welcomes New Chief Entomologist and Archivist

The Strong has announced two recent additions to its professional staff:

Marisha Burgess has been hired as chief entomologist at The Strong where she provides primary oversight for all wildlife that inhabit the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden (including butterflies, birds, and small reptiles), as well as for the aquaria housed in the National Museum of Play.

Julia N. Rossi has been hired as an archivist at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong. Her full-time, two-year position coincides with a rapid acceleration of archival donations, particularly as they relate to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Rossi is responsible for appraising, accessioning, and processing both traditional and digital archival collections and institutional records.

ESL Charitable Foundation Provides Support for the Play Therapy Access Program at The Strong

The ESL Charitable Foundation has provided $5,000 to The Strong to support the Play Therapy Access Program, which offers more than 500 therapists from across Monroe County the opportunity for free admission to the National Museum of Play at The Strong for therapy sessions with their child clients and their adult caregivers.

The Strong developed the Play Therapy Access Program to provide free museum access to therapists who provide Early Intervention Services and Education of Children with Disabilities (EI/ECD) including speech therapy, special education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and services for children who are hearing impaired. During each visit, with the guidance of their therapists, children can explore the museum’s dynamic, hands-on exhibits and play at their own pace among other museum guests. The program is administered in collaboration with Monroe County’s Early Intervention Program.

New Acquisition Makes The Strong’s Monopoly Collection World’s Largest

With the recent acquisition of the Philip E. Orbanes Collection, The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.—home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of dolls, toys, and play-related artifacts—now holds the distinction of housing the world’s largest and most comprehensive assemblage of classic Monopoly games.

Orbanes spent more than a decade leading research and development teams at Parker Brothers and is widely recognized as the foremost scholar and author on the subjects of Monopoly and Parker Brothers. Through acquisition of Orbanes’s collection of Monopoly and early Parker Brother games and related archival material, The Strong gains not only rare examples of historic games, but also detailed files related to their manufacture, and Orbanes’s own research and experiences as an industry insider. [Read more...]

Make Your Move at Game Time! Original Exhibit Opening at National Museum of Play at The Strong

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.

EntrancefamiyVisitors 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. [Read more...]

“Father of Video Games” Donates Collection to The Strong

Ralph H. Baer, widely recognized as “the father of video games,” has donated an extensive collection—which documents four decades of his career in electronic game and toy design—to The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG). The Ralph H. Baer Papers (1960s–2009) include original diagrams, schematics, engineering notes, and patents.

The Papers document Baer’s major contribution to the development of commercial and educational electronic toys and games, in particular, his work with toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates (1975–1982), video game pioneer Jay Smith III of Smith Engineering (1981–1987), and independent toy and game designer Phillip E. Orbanes (1987– 2001).

[Read more...]