Sid Sackson: Game Player and Designer

Sid Sackson: Game Player and Designer

The Strong not only collects playthings, but also acquires significant material related to the invention, manufacture, and use of those playthings. One of the museum’s treasures is the collection of games, game prototypes, and archives from noted American game inventor and historian, Sid Sackson. Sackson (1920–2002) is revered among inventors, collectors, and serious players for…

Domestic Hobbies: The Fight for Community in the Face of Isolation and Injustice

Domestic Hobbies: The Fight for Community in the Face of Isolation and Injustice

Domestic hobbies scratch the play itch—the need for creative expression and for losing yourself in the flow of an activity. In my previous blog, I addressed the therapeutic nature of crafting and the calm that it brings to its practitioners. Creative pursuits can also meet the need for community, for comfort and companionship for the…

Game Night!

Game Night!

It’s game night and my friends are gathered in my dining room. Four of them are face-down in a plateful of whipped cream, with their hands tied behind their backs, desperately trying to find snack-size candy bars hidden underneath. The rest of the group are laughing raucously, cheering their partners on. The goal of the…

When the Old Becomes New—Timeless Toy Designs

When the Old Becomes New—Timeless Toy Designs

“Hey! I had one of those growing up!” is a frequent statement we hear from guests roaming through The Strong. With such a large and diverse collection on display, everyone young and old can discover personal treasures behind the glass cases. The nostalgia of smiling childhood memories brings joy, as toy companies have discovered. Although…

Finding Race and Play at The Strong

Finding Race and Play at The Strong

The Strong’s research fellowship program not only provides an opportunity for scholars to view rare material in the museum’s collection and archives, but it also expands the potential for the study of play in academia. Being surrounded by the artifacts of play with which we all have experiential knowledge helped me realize the importance of…

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…

They’re Gr-r-r-eat! Cereal Box as Serial Docs

They’re Gr-r-r-eat! Cereal Box as Serial Docs

Can you get enough of that Sugar Crisp? Does the crunch always give you away? And are Trix just for kids? Cereal slogans have become embedded in popular culture, and even satirized in television shows. Such slogans were made memorable at the time by the cereal mascots that voiced them in animated commercials. However, these…

From Luxury to Affordability

From Luxury to Affordability

One of the most interesting stories of the history of play in North America is its economic “democratization.” Broadly speaking, over the course of the late 19th century and throughout the 20th, a rising standard of living allowed more North Americans to devote extra time to playing.

Old Timey Cures for Cabin Fever: Feathers, Forfeits, and Fortune Telling

Old Timey Cures for Cabin Fever: Feathers, Forfeits, and Fortune Telling

Record low temperatures and un-melting piles of snow kept parents scrambling to entertain house-bound children in the winter of 2015. This winter hasn’t been quite as cold or snowy in Rochester but, just in case the snows return, I’m ready with some practical advice drawn from The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play,…

PEZ—the Candy with a Playmate

PEZ—the Candy with a Playmate

It is no question that candy and toys are among many children’s favorite things. So when the two are paired together, the result is bound to be a success. Coined “the candy with a playmate,” PEZ dispensers prove what a great combination candy and a toy can be. In 1927, Eduard Haas III of Austria…