Collections

The Strong owns and cares for the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, board games, video games, other electronic games, books, documents, and other historical materials related to play. This unprecedented assemblage offers a unique interpretive and educational window into the critical role of play in human physical, social, and intellectual development and the ways in which play reflects cultural history.

Recent Acquisitions 

Recent acquisitions to The Strong’s collections include the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation Collection, 19682011, a broad array of computer game design materials, training manuals, internal reports, photographs, press clippings, and videos that illuminate how the company integrated its educational products, such as the trailblazing game The Oregon Trail, into school curricula around the nation; The Jim Henson Collection, 19712000, an assemblage of more than 600 licensed products related to the legendary puppeteer's numerous television and movie productions over an illustrious 30-plus year career, including Sesame Street and The Muppet Show; and the Cort and Barbara Allen Atari Packaging Design Collections, 1976–­­­­­­­­­1974a vast assortment of drawings, design plans, proofs, and unused packaging that records the development of packaging design and manuals for dozens of Atari games. 

Key Holdings

The Strong holds more than 450,000 historical objects related to play. These provide the foundation for The Strong’s mission to explore play and the ways in which it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history. The museum’s holdings are organized according to the following major categories, but some individual groupings of collections relate to more than one category and appear here according to their greatest content association.

Access to Collections

Thousands of artifacts from The Strong’s collections are on view in museum exhibits. Tens of thousands of objects are accessible through the museum’s rapidly growing online collections database. Further, the online catalog of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play provides a window in The Strong’s vast collection of books and trade publications. On-site access to the full museum collection is available to scholars, students, collectors, and other researchers by appointment.

Donate to Collections

The Strong welcomes donations that advance the museum’s mission to collect, preserve, exhibit, and research objects, publications, personal papers, business records, advertising and other promotional materials, photographs, and other items that illustrate and document the role of play in learning and human development and the ways in which it illuminates cultural history, particularly but not exclusively, in America.