Oh Brother! Oh Sister!

Oh Brother! Oh Sister!

Mothers get their day in May. Fathers are feted in June. And what about sisters and brothers? Their turn comes on April 10—Siblings Day. Siblings Day hasn’t earned recognition as a federal holiday (yet), but since 1998, governors have proclaimed Siblings Day in 49 states. From experience and observation, I know that sibling relationships can…

Fun at the Drive-In

Fun at the Drive-In

My favorite artifact in America at Play, an exhibit that opened on The Strong’s second floor in December 2016, isn’t the oldest, the biggest, or the showiest. But it’s one that transports me to another place and time. Which artifact has such magical powers? It’s the Remco Movieland Drive-In Theater play set from 1959. Today,…

Batman v Superman: Batman Wins

Batman v Superman: Batman Wins

Okay, I’ll confess that I haven’t actually seen the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But in my personal comparison of the two iconic superheroes, Batman wins almost every time. I should explain that I grew up in the 1960s and hadn’t really paid much attention to superheroes until 1966 rolled around. Superman, who…

Properly Packing Puzzles

Properly Packing Puzzles

I’ve always enjoyed working on jigsaw puzzles. I find the challenge of assembling a picture from the mass of jumbled pieces satisfying. Maybe it’s my bent for organization that wants to bring order to chaos and see the task through to a tidy completion. But I faced a different challenge recently when my fellow curator…

The Best Toys Ever

The Best Toys Ever

What’s your favorite toy? I had the chance to talk about some of my favorites from the National Toy Hall of Fame with Gerri Willis on The Willis Report not long ago. The Fox Business network brought me to New York City as part of the lead-in to holiday toy shopping and to remind their…

Patriotic Play

Patriotic Play

When I think of the 4th of July (what my calendar more formally calls Independence Day), I conjure up images of parades featuring plenty of red, white, and blue crepe paper. I smell the aroma of burgers on the grill. And I envision fireworks exploding into colorful sprays of light across an inky nighttime sky….

The Wheel Thing

The Wheel Thing

Any state fair, carnival, or amusement park needs to have a Ferris wheel. Ferris wheels rank up there with carousels, roller coasters, and cotton candy as essential elements of those summer destinations. Despite their familiarity today, the Ferris wheel first impressed riders and onlookers as a dazzling new mechanical wonder more than 100 years ago.

Welcome to Game Time!

Welcome to Game Time!

Roll the dice! Deal the cards! It’s time to welcome you to Game Time!, the newest exhibit at the National Museum of Play at The Strong. Game Time! explores the stories behind the non-electronic games that have played an important part in American life and culture over the past three centuries.

The Bunny Hop

The Bunny Hop

Spring has brought the annual influx of chocolate bunnies into my supermarket. And April’s sunnier days with longer daylight have sent my neighborhood’s rabbits onto a quest for sprouting greenery to munch. With hares seemingly everywhere, I’ve also started noticing all the rabbits in The Strong’s collection.

Glass Slippers Galore

Glass Slippers Galore

Cinderella has a long history of influencing popular culture and playthings. You might even say that she’s left a big footprint. The popular princess and her glass slipper came to my attention recently as I read an article about the upcoming Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella. The article focused on the creation…