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 Jordan Mechner Collection, 1913–2014, which documents how American video game designer, author, and filmmaker Jordan Mechner developed pioneering animation techniques to create the Prince of Persia game franchise and other best-selling titles; the Doris Bergen Papers, 1972–2014, a compilation of manuscripts, research notes and drafts, published articles, and primary source materials created or recorded by long-time Miami University professor Doris Bergen over the course of four decades in the educational psychology and early childhood education fields; and the Julie Conner Miniature Room Collection, 28 elaborately crafted miniature rooms created by Conner over a 20-year period as her form of adult play therapy.

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.