The Strong welcomes donations that advance the museum's mission to collect, preserve, exhibit, and research objects, photographs, advertising, and other materials 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.

Frequently asked questions about donating materials

Expand All

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

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

What types of materials are of interest?

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, 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.

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.

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 Association 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 serve as an on-site resource for curators and outside researchers.

How can individuals or organizations donate to The Strong's 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, contact Lauren Sodano, Collections Manager at the Strong, at or 585-410-6320.