Telling Tales and Sharing Play Stories

Telling Tales and Sharing Play Stories

When I went to college, I couldn’t decide on a major. I didn’t switch my course of study the way lots of college students do—I just smooshed it all into a double major. One major was in English because I loved writing and reading stories. The other major was in history because, well, I loved…

What’s a Girl to Do?

What’s a Girl to Do?

Kids often use play to explore adult roles, and toy and game makers are only too glad to produce playthings that tap into that behavior. The museum’s collection includes a group of games that provide revealing illustrations of adult perspectives on how kids can or should envision their roles as adults. In the late 1960s,…

Classic Contenders

Classic Contenders

Excitement is building around the Strong as we lead up to this year’s induction of new toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The toys in this year’s slate of 12 nominees demonstrate all the qualities necessary to earn a place of honor with other classics. Each finalist has the longevity, recognition factor, and…

Backyard Adventures

Backyard Adventures

As a kid, my summers included family camping trips, excursions to the amusement park, and Fourth of July fireworks. But those were the landmark events that punctuated the extended freedom of June, July, and August. On a day-to-day basis, my activities centered on the fun we created ourselves. And the location for those activities tended…

Sugar Buzz Your Sweetie

Sugar Buzz Your Sweetie

Is there a box of chocolates in your Valentine’s Day plans? If you’re going to give (or are expecting to receive) candy as a token of love, you’re part of a romantic tradition that began more than a century ago. In the 1890s, candy makers finally glommed onto Valentine’s Day as an occasion to promote…

Have a Horrid Valentine’s Day

Have a Horrid Valentine's Day

What does Valentine’s Day make you think of? Boxes of chocolates? Bouquets of roses? Pledges of undying love? Sure, those are all part of the most romantic holiday on the calendar. On the other hand, from the 1840s into the early twentieth century, Valentine’s Day was also THE occasion to send insulting and downright nasty…

Hurray for Inventors!

Hurray for Inventors!

Toy and game inventors deserve their time in the spotlight, according to the annual TAGIE (Toy and Game Inventors Expo) Awards. Bestselling books and hit songs earn authors and singers publicity as well as financial rewards. But create a million-selling toy or game and practically no one knows your name. The TAGIE Awards honor the…

Best in Class: Game Boy, Big Wheel, and the Ball

Best in Class: Game Boy, Big Wheel, and the Ball

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…

Halloween Hoopla

Halloween Hoopla

I’ve got my Halloween candy ready for the trick-or-treaters and a plan for how I’m going to decorate my front door with construction paper bats, but it was still a bit of a surprise to arrive at the museum this morning and find half my colleagues dressed (tastefully, of course) for Halloween. I should have…

Showing Our Stuff

Showing Our Stuff

You might not think of museum curators as showoffs, but we are.  Personally, I love speaking in public and appearing on TV. However, the type of showing off that curators like best is the kind that involves sharing our collections with the world. Sometimes we show off our collections in museum exhibits or at educational…