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 Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection, 1946–­­­­­­­­­1995, an assemblage of more than 200 design sketches that document the evolution of playfield layouts and the thinking behind some of the most innovative pinball machines of all time; the Nintendo of America Collection, 1983–2010, which contains hundreds of video games, home game consoles, peripherals, and accessories that chronicle the history of one of the largest and most influential video game companies in the world; and the GUND, Inc. Collection of Toys, 1920s–1970s, an assortment of teddy bears, mechanical toys, plush animals, cloth dolls, and puppets that illustrate the company’s innovations in safety, manufacturing, technology, and marketing​.

Key Holdings

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.

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.