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 Anne D. Williams Jigsaw Puzzle Collection, 1766–2014, an assemblage of more than 7,000 puzzles representing virtually every American manufacturer—and many from other countries—amassed by the nation's foremost expert on jigsaw puzzles and jigsaw history; the Atari Coin-op Divisions Collection, 1972–1999, a massive collection chronicling the development and production of virtually every Atari coin-operated game over that time period; and a donation of research notes, presentations, scholarly articles, books, and scores of other works in English and Italian on topics such as childhood development, early childhood education, and folklore from renowned early childhood educator Lella Gandini, the United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach.
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.