China Toy Fair


2014 National Toy Hall of Fame Finalists Revealed

American-girlThe 12 finalists for induction into The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame this year include American Girl dolls, My Little Pony, Rubik’s Cube, and more.

Here is the full list of finalists:

The Hall of Fame at The Strong museum in Rochester, N.Y., announced the finalists on Monday. A ceremony at The Strong on November 6 will reveal this year’s inductees.

Nominations Being Accepted for The Strong Museum

The Strong Museum’s National Toy Hall of Fame is taking nominations for favorite classic toys and games to be inducted this summer. Submissions are being accepted through July 31.

Since 1998, 53 classic toys and games have been inducted, including the game of chess and the rubber duck. The submissions are sifted through by an internal museum advisory committee made up of curators, educators, and historians. They discuss and decide which toys meet the criteria for induction. The traits they are looking for include icon status, longevity, discovery, and innovation.

The selected toys will be inducted on November 6 at a weekend long celebration at The Strong’s headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.

2013 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

NationalToyHallofFameThe game of chess joins the rubber duck as honored toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame. The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that included bubbles, Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, scooter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

During the National Toy Hall of Fame induction ceremony held at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y., on November 7, cartoonist Leigh Rubin (Rubes) presented two original commemorative cartoons, which he created in honor of the newest toy hall honorees.

The Strong Receives Museums for America Grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Strong has received a grant of $149,903 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Museums for America Program to assist the ongoing transformation of The Strong’s second floor into an artifact-dense, interactive, interpretive exhibit titled America at Play. The Strong is one of 186 museums across the nation to be awarded the IMLS grant out of 707 that applied for funding.

Rich in objects from The Strong’s world-renowned collections, and complemented by hands-on activities, America at Play features four complementary, thematic zones that will tell the story of the way that play has changed, stayed the same, and affects us all—adults and children alike. The exhibit represents the first historical overview of three centuries of play in America.

National Toy Hall of Fame Nominations Deadline July 31

nthofDo you have a favorite toy that deserves to join the ranks of Star Wars action figures, Tonka Trucks, Slinky, and other classic playthings in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong? To nominate a classic toy, visit www.toyhalloffame.org/nominate or mail your selection to: National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607.  Submissions for nominations must be received by the museum by July 31.

On November 7, the National Toy Hall of Fame will reveal the identity of the newest toy inductees. The induction will be followed by a public weekend celebration November 9 and 10.

The National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong recognizes toys that have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create, and discover through play. Criteria for induction include: Icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); Longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations); Discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play); and Innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design). A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three. [Read more...]

The Strong, TIA Partner for Museum Installation

overview1The Strong and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) partnered to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame alongside The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. The two halls of fame—one recognizing classic toys and the other recognizing the individuals who designed, made, and sold them—will share a $4 million museum installation, 75 percent of which will be funded by TIA and the toy industry.

By fall 2015, The Strong’s existing 5,000-square-foot National Toy Hall of Fame gallery will be fully transformed and renovated to accommodate the new halls. The new gallery will feature a programmable 100-foot-long by 20-foot-high LED theatrical screen visible from the street through a circular glass wall. The screen will blend stop-motion animated effects, pulsating color, and sound to highlight messages about toys, invention, and play.

Additional gallery components will include a second, smaller LED theatrical screen, an orientation theater, and five highly interactive, artifact-rich play environments that feature distinct modes of play—imagine, create, build, move, and compete. Inductees will be recognized on individual etched glass panels mounted on two lit, 14-foot-high curvilinear glass walls. Artifacts, documents, touch-screen interactivity, and physical play will position the inductees of both halls in the broad cultural context of play and its impact on the social history of everyday life. [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.

Children’s Play Preferences and Academic Success Subject of Study in the “American Journal of Play”

Courtesy of The Strong

There is an apparent link between children’s thinking styles, the types of play activities they prefer, and their academic achievements, according to a recent study by Robin M. Holmes of Monmouth University and colleagues Sharon Liden and Lisa Shines in the American Journal of Play, a scholarly journal of The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.

Holmes and colleagues studied 74 middle school students (45 boys and 29 girls, ages 10 to 15) of mostly Filipino and part Hawaiian heritages to assess the relationship between the children’s thinking styles, play preferences, and school performance as measured by state mandated test scores and grade point average. Two standard assessment tests were administered to determine the students’ personality traits, and students were asked to provide written responses to three questions about themselves and their favorite playful activities to help categorize them as field dependent (gravitating towards social situations and interactions) or field independent (preferring to avoid social contact and set their own standards for thinking and behaving). [Read more...]