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.

The combined halls will enable guests to explore how factors such as cultural trends, educational philosophies, moral views, gender, and emerging and changing technologies help shape the design, production, and marketing of toys and the play associated with them. For example, guests will learn how the creator of Raggedy Ann pioneered the now pervasive marketing and business technique known as transmedia; how games like Monopoly and The Game of Life reinforced widely held faith in capitalism and pursuit of the American dream; and how found toys such as the stick and blanket highlight why good play is the basis of all good toy design.

The Strong and TIA view this collaboration as the launch of a long-lasting partnership in promoting the importance of play.