National Toy Hall of Fame Overview

National Museum of Play News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

February 24, 2012

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359,
Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

National Toy Hall of Fame Overview

Each November, the National Toy Hall of Fame® at The Strong inducts toys that have achieved longevity and national significance in the world of play and imagination.  Located atop a dramatic staircase in a magnificent, light-filled atrium, the hall features historic examples of current toy inductees and play stations where you can race a Slinky®, build with LEGO bricks, swivel a Hula Hoop®, and play with blocks and puzzles. From Barbie® and Candy Land®, to Silly Putty®, and the View-Master®, the hall is home to dozens of iconic American toys that have engaged and delighted Americans for generations. 

History behind the Hall
The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by A. C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, a children’s museum in Salem, Oregon, to recognize toys that have achieved longevity and national significance in the world of play and imagination. The hall quickly outgrew its original home and in 2002, The Strong, which also houses the National Museum of Play and the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, games, and electronic games, acquired the hall and moved it to its permanent home in Rochester, New York. The hall provides additional opportunities for both hands-on experiences and intergenerational memory sharing among guests.

Importance of Toys
Toys are among the most important human artifacts. By guiding play, they foster imagination, creativity, and critical thinking.  They reveal what we believe, value, encourage, endorse, dismiss, and fear. They remind us of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to become.  They help us to imagine the future.

Criteria for Induction
Inducted toys are selected on the basis of the following criteria:  1. Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered.  2. Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations.  3. Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play.  4. Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

Process for Selection
Anyone can nominate a toy for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame®. Nominations may be submitted at any time on site at the museum, via the internet, or by U.S. mail. An internal Advisory Committee comprised of curators, educators, and historians reviews the submitted nominations and determines which toys meet the criteria for selection. A National Selection Committee then reviews the list of toys that meet the criteria. Each National Selection Committee member votes for his or her top toy picks for induction. The votes are then tallied, with the toys receiving the most votes making the cut for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.