The excitement builds around the museum every autumn as we lead up to the induction of new toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame. This year, people from all over the country sent us hundreds of toy nominations, each one making the case that their favorite toy should earn a place of honor among the forty-one classics already inducted. No coordinated nomination campaigns emerged this year like 2008 when I heard from tens of thousands of Thomas the Tank Engine and Power Rangers advocates. Still, the hall did receive more than 200 different toy suggestions. Because nominations inspire such fervor each year, it’s always a challenge to winnow the possible candidates down to a group of just twelve finalists. If you’ve forgotten which twelve lucky toys and games competed for this year’s honors, they were: the Ball, Big Wheel, Cabbage Patch Kids, The Game of Life, Hot Wheels, Nintendo Game Boy, Paper Airplane, Playing Cards, Rubik’s Cube, Sidewalk Chalk, Toy Tea Set, and Transformers. All worthy candidates, in my opinion. So, it’s a great thrill to celebrate this year’s three new inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame—the Ball, Big Wheel, and Nintendo Game Boy. Our National Toy Hall of Fame induction ceremony on November 5 took place without a hitch in front of lots of cheering guests and TV cameras. As someone who’s never afraid of appearing silly on the museum’s behalf, I’d tried shoehorning myself onto a Big Wheel, but soon discovered that Big Wheels just aren’t engineered for someone my size or weight. So we asked a couple photogenic kids to ride our Big Wheels for the ceremony instead. We recruited four museum colleagues to demonstrate how essential the Ball is for all sorts of play. And Mario, of Super Mario Bros. fame, pitched in to help out with announcing that Nintendo Game Boy was being recognized for its role as an innovator in handheld gaming.
What’s next? Now’s your chance to start your own nomination campaign for next year’s National Toy Hall of Fame inductees. It’s never too early to head to our Web site and fill out our nomination form. And, if you’re really enthusiastic about that favorite toy, recruit everyone you know to do the same. I can’t wait to hear all about the hundreds of toys that deserve a place in the 2010 class.