Born to Laugh: The Element of Humor in Play

Born to Laugh: The Element of Humor in Play

Holiday time is a good occasion to think about humor and play since it’s filled with reflection, rest, and relaxation with relatives and friends—a time to play again. Like vacation time, holidays let us back off a bit, lighten up, and try to laugh a lot more, for our own good. I firmly believe that…

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…

Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

When Charles Lindbergh made his famous New York to Paris flight from May 20 to 21, 1927, he became an overnight celebrity. Parisians mobbed Le Bourget airport immediately after his landing and even tore bits of souvenir fabric from the wings of The Spirit of St. Louis, his trusted airplane. But Lindbergh’s arrival back in…

Did You See That? It’s Optical Entertainment!

Did You See That? It’s Optical Entertainment!

Is it me, or does there seem to be a renewed interested in 3-D films? Are there any movies that aren’t being released in 3-D? The popularity of the medium recently encouraged me to think more about why visual trickery fascinates so many people. As it turns out, our interest is hardly a fleeting trend….

Creature Comforts: Toys that Soothe

Creature Comforts: Toys that Soothe

The National Toy Hall of Fame hasn’t embraced cuddly toys in a couple of years. Of course I was thrilled to see The Strong honor the rubber duck recently (have you seen my wedding cake?). But it’s the soft, snuggly playthings—the blanket, the teddy bear, Raggedy Ann and Andy—that give me warm fuzzies. These are…

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…

Chess: Champion Names and Championship Games

Chess: Champion Names and Championship Games

Do you play chess? A World Chess Federation affiliate recently stated that the worldwide number of chess players equals the number of regular Facebook members and, in the United States, more people play chess than tennis and golf combined. Few sports foster such loyalty and global admiration.

War Gardens: Winning the Food Fight on Home Soil

War Gardens: Winning the Food Fight on Home Soil

Hello, autumn. As pumpkins, parsnips, and apples signal the harvest, I’m gathering artifacts from The Strong’s collections related to a time when farmers were called away to war and civilians rescued the food supply.

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…

Playing for “Keepsies”: Marble Play

Playing for “Keepsies”: Marble Play

Night after summer night, my friends and I would gather under the one streetlamp in our small hamlet to shoot marbles, devising our own simple games with the materials at hand. We didn’t know that the game of marbles, in one form or another, has endured for centuries. Even the Romans played marbles. In 1560,…