Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple

On February 11, 2014, the staff at The Strong and the American public learned of the passing of Shirley Temple Black, actor, politician, diplomat, and former U.S. ambassador. Most Americans, however, know Temple as the most popular child star in Hollywood history.

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Meet Big Loo, your new best friend. If you ever go to the moon, make sure you take Big Loo with you. With him along, you won’t need any other companion. Advertised as a robot from the moon and perfect for lunar exploration, the 38-inch Big Loo functioned like a one-man, er, one-robot army. Louis…

The Toy Experts

The Toy Experts

Every autumn, The Strong inducts two or three toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The process begins by staff examining the thousands of nominations received from the public through the Hall of Fame website and in letters, emails, and phone calls. Museum curators, educators, historians, and administrators then carefully consider the many toys…

Rubber Duck: You Make Bath Time Lots of Fun

Rubber Duck: You Make Bath Time Lots of Fun

Bet I can make you smile with just two words: rubber duck. You did, didn’t you? You can’t help but smile. This will make you smile too. On November 7, the rubber duck—along with the game of chess—joined 51 other classic toys inducted in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong. How did…

Ping Pong Patriots

Ping Pong Patriots

Summer, even late summer, means tennis for many who love the warm weather, the sunshine, and the great outdoors. And for those of us who hate to swelter and prefer to get our exercise in air-conditioned splendor, there’s always indoor tennis. The tabletop game goes by many names: table tennis and Ping Pong sound familiar,…

A Galaxy’s Worth of Star Wars Action Figures

A Galaxy’s Worth of Star Wars Action Figures

Have you ever heard anyone say “I think I have too many Star Wars action figures”? Of course not. Who would ever say such a thing? So, you can understand my excitement last December when an opportunity arose to acquire a collection of Star Wars figures. After all, just the month before, The Strong had…

The Other Sara Lee: A Doll Story

The Other Sara Lee: A Doll Story

A few weeks ago, while gathering some toys from The Strong’s collection for a media event, I came across a little infant doll I had never seen before. She sat alone on a shelf in storage, and I would have missed her completely if I hadn’t been looking specifically for dolls depicting African Americans.

(House)Working at Play

(House)Working at Play

In the big picture of play, all toys have a purpose: they teach physical and mental skills, develop young imaginations, and encourage kids to think in new ways. However one category of toys has puzzled me for years: housekeeping toys. The term seems like an oxymoron. I love a well-cooked meal, nicely laundered and pressed…

Star Wars Action Figures: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Star Wars Action Figures: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

If you haven’t spent the last week in a galaxy far, far away, you have probably heard that on November 15, Star Wars action figures joined the 50 other august toys honored in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong. It seems like big honors for such itty bitty, 3.75-inch toys, but these…

The Magic and Mystery of KAR-MI

The Magic and Mystery of KAR-MI

The Strong’s vast and varied holdings include several hundred artifacts in the museum’s KAR-MI Collection: magician’s props, throwing knives, swords to swallow, theater posters, satiny banners and table covers, and a tattoo set (tattoo set? yes!). But we have few documents or records to explain this interesting mass of materials. So, of course, I have…