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 to The Strong’s collections include the Paul Sams Collection of Blizzard Games and Merchandise, 1992-2015, which contains more than 1,500 items representing Blizzard’s key video game franchises such as Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, plus early games such as The Lost Vikings and RPM Racing produced in the early 1990s when the company was known as Silicon & Synapse; the GUND, Inc. Collection of Toys, 1920s–1970s, an assemblage of teddy bears, mechanical toys, plush animals, cloth dolls, and puppets that illustrate the company’s innovations in safety, manufacturing, technology, and marketing; and the Penguin Software Collection, 1970–2013, donated by company founder and lead developer Mark Pelczarski, which documents the development of key software tools that made it possible for programmers to create cutting-edge graphics on computers in the early 1980s.
The Strong holds more than 400,000 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.