Play Pals Exhibit Opens at The Strong December 6

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

November 13, 2014

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325,

Play Pals Exhibit Opens
at The Strong Museum on December 6

Play house, heal a teddy bear, and save the world in Play Pals, an original, permanent exhibit opening at The Strong museum on Saturday, December 6. The 4,000-square-foot exhibit invites guests to explore the evolution of dolls, action figures, toy soldiers, plush animals, and other toys of the imagination through three centuries of American history and encourages creative role-play at interactive stations.

Jump into an enormous toy package and become part of the action as you pose for pictures dressed like a doll or action figure. Create your own story at the action adventure table with toy soldiers, superhero action figures, and ferocious dinosaurs. Move them across dynamic settings including a volcano overflowing with lava, two enemy castles only separated by a field, and a modern city brimming with skyscrapers and underground lairs. Then grab your Buzz Lightyear or Mr. Incredible figure, plug it in, and explore the computerized world of Disney Infinity.

Step into a life-size dollhouse and prepare food in the kitchen, dine at the table, and care for a baby doll in the nursery. Outside, plant a flower bed, grab a snack at the picnic table, or pile into the family car—complete with working ignition, GPS, pedals, and headlights. Head over to the fashion dress-up area and try on gowns and accessories.

In the GUND Teddy Bear Check-Up area, use an otoscope and blood pressure sleeve to test the health of plush bears, dogs, and cats. After, slip into a doctor’s coat and use bandages and other medical tools to fix what ails them. Test your reflexes with an oversized operation game and try to avoid being buzzed. Steady your hand and try to pluck a honey jar, butterfly, and more from a lovable teddy bear.

Encounter cases filled with a variety of dolls, action figures, and stuffed animals from every decade. A massive timeline traces the evolution of these toys from the homemade dolls of the 1800s through the creation of the teddy bear and Raggedy Ann in the early 1900s, to the development of favorite modern figures such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bratz. Another case explores dolls created in the likeness of cultural icons, such as pilot Charles Lindberg and America’s sweetheart Shirley Temple.

Reconnect with favorite playthings, including Teddy Ruxpin, Baby Alive, Tickle Me Elmo, and My Buddy. Also marvel at rare artifacts, including a Bild Lilli Doll (which inspired Barbie), an early G.I. Joe prototype, a Steiff bear, a 1930s Mickey Mouse, and Mabel—the beloved doll of museum founder Margaret Woodbury Strong.

Play Pals is phase three of a five-phase project to transform the museum’s second floor into America at Play, a highly interactive exhibit on the history of play in America. The first phase, eGameRevolution, explores electronic games and the second phase, Game Time!, traces the history of board games and puzzles. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The GUND Teddy Bear Check-Up area is generously sponsored by GUND®. Newborn Nursery baby dolls and clothing courtesy of the Madame Alexander Doll Company.

All Play Pals activities are included with general museum admission fees.


Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

General Admission Fees (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): age 2 and older $13.50, under age 2 free, members free.

Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden: General admission fee plus $3 for members, $4 for nonmembers, under age 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only.

Parking: Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis during regular museum hours. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.