A trio of classic toys have joined the lineup at the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Baby Nancy, sidewalk chalk, and Jenga were inducted during a special ceremony this morning at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The honorees were selected from a lineup of 12 finalists including bingo, Breyer Horses, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Risk, Sorry!, Tamagotchi, and Yahtzee.
Operation Bootstrap launched Shindana Toys in 1968 with backing from Chase Manhattan Bank, Mattel, and Sears Roebuck & Co., among others. The Los Angeles-based company launched Baby Nancy as the first toy in a lineup meant to “reflect Black pride, Black talent, and most of all, Black enterprise.” By Thanksgiving, the doll was a hit in L.A., and by Christmas Baby Nancy was available across the country.
“Although Shindana Toys ceased operations in 1983, Baby Nancy still stands as a landmark doll that made commercial and cultural breakthroughs,” says Strong Curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer.
Jenga launched in the early 1980s as a creation of Leslie Scott, who found inspiration in the wooden blocks that she played with as a kid growing up in Africa.
“Fans say that much of Jenga’s success lies in its simplicity and ability to be played by almost anyone,” says Strong Curator Nicolas Ricketts. “It is one of the rare games that’s equally fun for two people or a bigger crowd. It’s perfect for a game party with a group or something more intimate, but either way, it’s always sure to make instant memories.”
Sidewalk chalk has roots in Paleolithic cave art that has been found around the world.
“There are few limits to what kids can do with chalk,” says Strong Chief Curator Christopher Bensch. “Every sidewalk square, patio, and driveway holds the potential for a work of art, a winning game of strategy and cleverness, or a demonstration of physical agility, poise, and balance.”
This year’s inductees join a lineup of more than 70 toys that have been added to the National Toy Hall of Fame since its founding in 1998.