The museum is closed to the public today, Friday, September 19, in preparation for the Play Ball gala

Donate to the Collections

The Strong encourages queries from individuals and organizations that have toys, games, dolls, or other play-related materials that merit a permanent home where they can help inform future generations. To inquire about donating play-related objects and other materials, please contact one of the following individuals:

Toys, Dolls, and Games Collections

Lauren Sodano
Collections Manager, The Strong
lsodano@museumofplay.org
585-410-6320

Video and Other Electronic Games Collections

Jon-Paul C. Dyson
Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games
jpdyson@museumofplay.org
585-410-6341

Library and Archival Materials

Beth Lathrop
Director of Libraries
blathrop@museumofplay.org
585-410-6349

Frequently Asked Questions About Donating Materials

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.

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Is The Strong actively collecting additional toys, games, dolls, and other play-related materials?

Yes. The Strong is actively seeking and acquiring additional examples of play-related materials.

What types of objects are of interest to The Strong?

From individual items to comprehensive collections, The Strong seeks a broad range of materials. The museum’s definition of play includes adult hobbies and leisure activities as well as the types of play most frequently associated with children. The museum’s collections reflect play from past centuries to modern times. Materials of particular interest include toys, games, video games and their platforms, handheld game systems, toys that combine digital and traditional play, dolls, sports equipment, souvenirs, amateur crafts, and holiday decorations.

Artifacts accompanied by stories that show how donors used them are especially important. Personal photographs and videos of people at play are also desired for documenting play.

What types of library and archival materials are of interest to The Strong?

From individual items to comprehensive collections, The Strong is interested in a broad range of play-related materials for its library and archives. Of primary interest are the records of toy and board and electronic game designers, inventors, and companies; marketing, advertising, packaging, and other promotional and informational materials about toys and games; trade publications of the toy, game, and electronic game industries; personal and professional papers and publications of play scholars; primary and secondary publications that document the history of play; and published and unpublished works written by dedicated collectors of toys and games.

Must donated materials be in mint condition?

Items or collections offered to the museum should be complete (not missing significant parts) and in stable condition, but they do not have to be mint-in-box or look the way they did when new. It is not necessary to clean objects prior to offering them to The Strong. Curatorial and conservation staff members examine each artifact to assure that its condition will allow it to be preserved for future exhibition, research, and educational needs.

Should I organize my collection before offering it to The Strong?

It is not necessary to organize a collection prior to offering it to The Strong. Staff from the museum’s Collections Team will organize the materials after they arrive.

What happens when the museum considers a donation?

The museum considers each potential acquisition carefully. Individual curators evaluate each item or collection to make sure it supports the museum’s mission and does not duplicate objects already in the collections. When items or groups of items appear to fit those criteria, the curator responsible for the initial review presents a written justification for acquisition to The Strong’s Acquisitions Team. If that group agrees with the curator, a Deed of Gift form is prepared for the donor.

What is a Deed of Gift?

A Deed of Gift is a formal document that transfers legal ownership of the donated item(s) to The Strong. Provisions within the document allow donors to choose how they want their donation acknowledged, to define or assign intellectual property rights, and to specify preferences for research access.

What are the financial implications of a donation?

The Internal Revenue Service has determined that The Strong qualifies as a 501(c)(3) organization. In keeping with professional standards and accreditation requirements of the American Alliance of Museums, The Strong does not appraise items offered for donation. Donors are encouraged to seek the advice of counsel before claiming deductions for the purpose of computing income and heritance taxes under state and federal laws.

How are donations displayed?

Only a small percentage of the museum’s collections can be shown in its exhibits and displays at any one time. However, donations are shared with a worldwide audience by way of the museum’s online collections database and the online catalog of The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play. Both serve as a resource for curators and outside researchers.

Can I get to my materials again after I donate them?

Yes, you are welcome to make an appointment with the museum’s staff to provide you access to items not on display.

Toys, Dolls, and Games Collections
Lauren Sodano
Collections Manager, The Strong
lsodano@museumofplay.org
585-410-6320

Video and Other Electronic Games Collections
Jon-Paul C. Dyson
Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games
jpdyson@museumofplay.org
585-410-6341

Library and Archival Materials
Beth Lathrop
Director of Libraries
blathrop@museumofplay.org
585-410-6349

Make a Monetary Gift

Individuals and corporations interested in making a financial contribution in support of artifact conservation and care should contact Audrey Blocchi, institutional advancement services coordinator, at 585-410-6346 or ablocchi@museumofplay.org. Donations may also be made online or mailed to Institutional Advancement, The Strong, One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607.