Tea or Monopoly with Mussolini?

Tea or Monopoly with Mussolini?

Some games resonate with political history, and so do some movies. I watched Tea with Mussolini, director Franco Zefferelli’s 1999 semi-biographical film, and it reminded me of a game The Strong acquired in 2012. Monopoli (yes, that’s the correct spelling) is a 1937 Italian version from Monopoly’s heyday. What?! Monopoly is all about American-style capitalism…

Colonel Mustard in the National Toy Hall of Fame with the Candlestick?

Colonel Mustard in the National Toy Hall of Fame with the Candlestick?

It doesn’t take much detective work to discover that many people enjoy mysteries. For example, I can vividly remember being enthralled when I first read Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None. I know I’m joined by millions who eagerly follow the crime-solving exploits of Christie’s hero, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Certainly Poirot…

Line Up for a Game, Comrades!

Line Up for a Game, Comrades!

Board games and serious politics usually don’t mix. But in 2011, a Polish government think tank known as The Institute of National Remembrance created an interesting board game called Kolejka that The Strong recently acquired for its collections. The Institute researches crimes committed by the Nazi and Communist parties in Poland and makes that information…

A Rochester Game Manufacturer: The Alderman-Fairchild Corp.

A Rochester Game Manufacturer: The Alderman-Fairchild Corp.

Few probably realize that Rochester, New York, was once home to a large game and toy manufacturer. Henry Alderman and Elmer E. Fairchild formed the Alderman-Fairchild Company in 1900 and initially printed paper goods and cardboard boxes for clients such as Rochester’s Fanny Farmer Candy. The city had grown into an important printing center during…

The Pre-Game Show: It Starts with a Prototype

The Pre-Game Show: It Starts with a Prototype

Other than Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, where do games come from? Often they start out as prototypes, initial versions that allow game inventors to test their concepts and designs. Like the first draft of a novel or the rough cut of a movie, these prototype games help illustrate the revisions and refinements that…

All in a Day’s Work: Preparing for Game Time! at The Strong

All in a Day’s Work: Preparing for Game Time! at The Strong

If you’re a member or fan of the National Museum of Play at The Strong, you probably know that the museum will open another major exhibit on the second floor in April 2013. Game Time! will illuminate the exciting history of board games, card games, puzzles, electromechanical coin-operated games, pinball machines, and other forms of…

Dominoes: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Dominoes: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like…

Rochester’s NFL Football Team and a Hometown Sports Hero

Rochester’s NFL Football Team and a Hometown Sports Hero

Few people today know that Rochester, New York, was once home to a football team that became part of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), eventually known as the National Football League. The story starts in the early years of the 20th century when the Rochester Jeffersons took their name from their practice field’s location…

Fantastic Fiscal Fun

Fantastic Fiscal Fun

Buzzwords and hot topics permeate the media as the 2012 election approaches. Watch almost any news report and you’ll likely hear phrases such as “fiscal responsibility” and “balance the budget.” As gloomy as the current political circumstances or economic conditions may seem though, history tells us that it’s nothing new. People have long persisted through…

Monopoly and More: How The Strong Builds Collections

Monopoly and More: How The Strong Builds Collections

Do you marvel at the toys and dolls on display at The Strong? Ever wonder how they came to the National Museum of Play? As curator of games—board games, card games, and many more—I’m responsible for acquiring historic playthings and popular new examples. But how exactly do we do it? One way is through donation….