Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

What do you get when you take a grand Victorian mansion, all of its ornately detailed furnishings, wallpaper, wooden flooring, and inhabitants (including pets!), and shrink them down to 1/12 their natural size? Well, a dollhouse, of course!   Dollhouses were a passion for museum founder Margaret Woodbury Strong Strong, as they have been for…

Go Greyhound!

Go Greyhound!

From my childhood, I seem to recall an early TV advertising ditty that ended with: “Lucky us in a Greyhound bus!” Growing up in a village too small for Greyhound service, my introduction to the transportation line came from ads in magazines, newspapers, and television and from glimpses of Greyhound buses in movies, songs, and…

Art and Creativity with Lite-Brite

Art and Creativity with Lite-Brite

What is it about light that makes it so appealing as an element of play? One of my recent blogs focused upon glow-in-the-dark toys that use phosphors and a form of light emission known as photoluminescence to provide a familiar greenish glow. I also described chemiluminescence, a form of light emission dependent upon a chemical…

Work vs. Play: When a Chore is Not a Chore

Work vs. Play: When a Chore is Not a Chore

In preparation for purchasing my daughter’s second birthday present, I polled my parent-friends to see what was the one toy their kids couldn’t live without. The answer was unanimous —a play kitchen—since it provides endless hours of play for a wide variety of age groups. In the back of my mind I thought, “I could…

No Imitation Game: The Alan Turing Edition Monopoly

No Imitation Game: The Alan Turing Edition Monopoly

The list of Academy Award nominees for 2015 included The Imitation Game, the highest-grossing independent film of the previous year. The film tells part of the life story, with plenty of artistic license, of England’s Alan Turing. Most famous for playing a key role on the top secret team that solved Nazi Germany’s Enigma code…

Star Wars and Atari: Documentation of a Classic Arcade Game

Star Wars and Atari: Documentation of a Classic Arcade Game

Earlier this year, I joined The Strong to perform a truly exciting job: process the recently acquired Atari Coin-Op Division Collection. I loved Atari as a child, so I jumped at the chance to work firsthand on its records. My first exposure to video games, like many others born in the early 1980s, came through…

What Were They Thinking? Playthings to Ponder

What Were They Thinking? Playthings to Ponder

Earlier this spring, the curators at The Strong gathered up items from the collections for a display we call “What Were They Thinking?” Although no one ever sets out to make a bad toy, the items exhibited included a number of toys, games, and dolls that make us wonder just what their designers and manufacturers…

The First Jigsaw Puzzle

The First Jigsaw Puzzle

Preparation for the new Toy Halls of Fame is in full swing at The Strong. Part of the preparation for the exhibit’s opening in September 2015 involves assessing objects to make sure that they can be safely displayed in a way that will preserve the artifacts while allowing guests to enjoy them during their visits….

Novelty Items: Amusements and More!

Novelty Items: Amusements and More!

I’m a huge fan of novelty items. Currently, my office is adorned with miniature rubber ducks, librarian action figures, small stuffed animals, and other cute-funny-quirky trinkets. These make great conversation pieces and delight others, as well as amuse me. I’ve found that “novelty” is often used as a catch-all term for miscellaneous items that don’t…

YOU and YOU ALONE: The Story of the Choose Your Own Adventure Generation

YOU and YOU ALONE: The Story of the Choose Your Own Adventure Generation

WARNING!!!! Do not read this book straight through from beginning to end! These pages contain many different adventures you can go on…. The adventures you take are a result of your choice. You are responsible because you choose! For 36 years these opening lines have beckoned booklovers and reluctant readers alike to become part of…