Frances M. Williams Research Fellowship Established

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

May 13, 2015

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325,

The Strong Museum Announces
Frances M. Williams Research Fellowships

to Advance Play Scholarship

ROCHESTER, New York—The Strong is pleased to announce the establishment of the Frances M. Williams Research Fellowships to provide financial support for scholarly play research on the study of puzzles, puzzle play, and related topics across The Strong’s artifact, archival, and other historical collections. The fellowships are made possible through a gift by puzzle expert Anne D. Williams and provide a new source of financial support for eligible academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the masters or doctorate level that can benefit from on-site access to The Strong’s collections. The new fellowship complements The Strong Research Fellowships (established in 2012) and the Mary Valentine and Andrew Cosman Research Fellowships (established in 2014).

“We’re grateful that Anne Williams’s donation will help advance play scholarship to create a greater understanding of the important role of play in people’s lives,” says Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong. “Williams’s gift also provides support for improving the online accessibility of materials related to jigsaw puzzles and for the digitization of library and archives materials related to jigsaw puzzles—activities that enhance the research opportunities for both on-site and online users of The Strong’s artifact resources.”

Williams, considered by many to be the foremost expert and author on jigsaw puzzle history, assembled one of the largest and most comprehensive jigsaw puzzle collections in the world. Recipients of the Frances M. Williams Research Fellowships will benefit from access to this collection, which The Strong acquired in 2014. The collection includes more than 7,000 artifacts spanning 1766 to 2014, including examples from virtually all American and most European puzzle makers from the 18th century to present, as well as tools and equipment used for puzzle making since that era.

How to Apply: The Strong invites fellowship applications from academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the masters or doctorate level living outside a 50-mile radius of The Strong. Frances M. Williams Fellowships will be awarded once a year and granted for one week with a $600 stipend.

Research fellowship recipients will have library access from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; supervised access to The Strong’s collections; wireless Internet access and phone; free digital images with a personal camera for individual reference use only; and access to a community of scholars and curators with a shared interest.

Applications for grants covering October–December must be received by August 15; applications for grants covering January–June must be received by November 15; applications for grants covering July–September must be received by May 30.

Applications must be submitted electronically to

About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. Known widely as the nation’s museum of play, The Strong blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) to explore the ways in which play encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.