2013 Annual Report Highlights

The Strong

The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based educational institution devoted to the study and exploration of play. The Strong carries out its mission through five programmatic arms called “Play Partners.” Each Play Partner provides a unique framework through which The Strong develops, organizes, and delivers educational services.

National Museum of Play
International Center for the History of Electronic Games
National Toy Hall of Fame
American Journal of Play

Carter Keithly and Rollie Adams
Carter Keithly, former President and CEO of TIA (left), Rollie Adams (right)
  • Welcomed more than 560,000 guests on site, including guests from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Europe, Southern and Central America, Africa, Asia, and Australia

  • Greeted nearly 18,200 member households

  • Added more than 15,000 objects to world-class collections and increased to 55,000 the number of artifacts available online, making that database one of the largest among history museums anywhere

  • Posted more than 103 blogs to the CHEGheads, Play Stuff, re:Play, and Play in Mind blogs

  • Announced a partnership with the Toy Industry Association (TIA) to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame alongside The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art museum installation

  • Welcomed 8 interns from 6 colleges

  • Raised more than $100,000 to support The Strong’s education and outreach programs at the Play Ball fundraising gala and, with Fleet Street Sports and Yellow Jacket Racing, welcomed nearly 1,800 runners to the Reindeer Run benefiting The Strong

Grants of Note

  • The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, $150,000, to complete Play Pals, a 4,000 square-foot exhibit and second thematic zone of America at Play opening December 2014

  • New York State Council on the Arts, $56,000, for general operating support

  • ESL Charitable Foundation, $5,000, to support The Strong’s Play Therapy Access Program

  • M&T Bank, $50,000, to support The Strong’s 2013–2014 education programs

  •  The Greater Hudson Heritage Network, $1,900, for conservation treatment of Animal Ten Pins game

National Acclaim

  • National television shows and networks such as Jeopardy, NBC Nightly News, and Travel Channel either reported on activities of The Strong or used it as a resource

  • National Public Radio aired interviews with staff of The Strong

  • National newspaper and magazine coverage included Conde Nast Traveler, Food Network Magazine, Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Kiplinger, New York Magazine, New York Post, Official Xbox Magazine, Time, USAToday, and Wall Street Journal

  • National and international websites such as those for ABC, Boston Globe, CBS News Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Fox News, GMA News Online, Google Finance IMDB.com, International Business Times, New York Daily News, New York Times, Popular Science, Time, Today.com, USAToday, Yahoo! News, and Yahoo! OMG reported on Play Partner activities

  • Local market coverage included hundreds of articles in newspapers such as Anchorage Daily News, Arizona Republic, Boston Globe, Buffalo News, Charlotte Observer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Denver Post, Des Moines Register, Detroit News, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Miami Herald, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New York Newsday, Orange County Register, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,  San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Tampa Bay News, and Wisconsin State Journal

  • Video game industry publications and websites such as Core77.com, Family Friendly Gaming, Gamasutra, Gamers Daily News, Kill Screen Daily, Strategy Informer, Venture Beat, and VG247 covered important ICHEG announcements

National Museum of Play

The National Museum of Play is the first and largest collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It serves diverse audiences including families, children, adults, students, teachers, scholars, and collectors through a multitude of offerings.

Key Acquisitions

  • More than 1,000 toys and extensive related archives from noted premium toy designer Garth Parker

  • More than 25 bicycles and other ride-ons from the former Pedaling History Museum

  • A rare Dungeons & Dragons game once owned by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson

  • A 1957 Pluto Platter, the immediate predecessor to the Frisbee


  •  Included by USA Today in a list of the 10 best museums in the nation

  • Recognized as one of “10 museums of national significance that provide a glimpse into the American experience” in American Profile Magazine’s Northeast edition

  • Named one of the best children’s museums in the country by the Family Vacation Critic website

  • Distinguished as one of the best children’s museums in the world by Viator Travel Blog

  • Awarded “Readers’ Choice” for best museum—12th consecutive year—by readers of the Democrat and Chronicle

  • Awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, a distinction reserved for businesses consistently rated highest travelers

  • Named one of the “Best Spots in the City” based on numerous top-scoring reviews on Yelp.com

  • Voted the Top Place to Take Kids and Favorite Family-Friendly Museum in the Rochester area by KidsOutandAbout.com readers

  • Distinguished as the Best Family Day Trip by readers of Family Times, the parenting guide of Central New York

  • Named Rochester’s best family-friendly attraction by readers of City Newspaper

Game Time exhibit
Game Time!



  • Game Time!, a permanent exhibit exploring more than 300 years of games, puzzles, and public amusements (opened April 13, permanent)

  • Atari By Design, a temporary exhibit illuminating the creative thinking behind the finished designs of some of the most popular video arcade games of all time (June 22–September 8)

  • Wegmans Super Kids Market, an expanded and updated version of the museum’s most popular exhibit space now includes a Market Café and Organic Farm toddler play area (reopened June 29, permanent)

  • Boardwalk Arcade, this summertime exhibit reminiscent of a 19th and early 20th-century Coney Island or Atlantic City celebrates seaside amusements in all their bleeping, blipping, vibrant glory (July 6–September 8)

Wegmans Super kids market
Wegmans Super Kids Market


  • LEGO Travel Adventure, produced by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in cooperation with LEGO Systems Inc. (January 19–May 12)

  • Little Builders, designed and produced by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (September 28, 2013–January 5, 2014)

  • Displayed dozens of enlarged Rubes cartoons by nationally syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin (October–January)

Public Program Highlights

  • Presented more than 100 public programs
    2013 Winter calendar
    2013 Spring calendar
    2013 Summer calendar
    2013 Fall calendar

  • Celebrated Clifford the Big Red Dog’s 50th birthday (February)

  • Presented first Monsters and Magical Creatures Weekend which included art displays and theater performances

  • Collaborated with the Rebel Legion and 501st Legion (Vader’s Fist) to present In Another Galaxy Weekend (November)

  • Hosted the second annual Reindeer Run 5K in conjunction with YellowJacket Racing (December)

  • Provided patch and badge activities for 637 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts (yearlong)

School Program Highlights

  • Delivered school lessons to nearly 10,400 Western New York students

  • Provided professional development experiences to 393 pre- and in-service teachers

  • Educated 55 three- and four-year-olds through the museum’s Reggio Emilia-inspired Woodbury Preschool

  • Hosted more than 200 college students working on curriculum-related assignments

  • Welcomed more than 900 area high school students to the museum’s 23rd annual Advanced Placement History Conference and more than 200 to an Advanced Placement Psychology Conference

  • Hosted more than 100 Generation Two students, staff, teachers, and volunteers from the City of Rochester and Fairport school districts for a morning of intergenerational play and conversation

Community Outreach

  • In cooperation with more than 60 different agencies, made the museum accessible to hundreds of financially challenged families through the Passport to Family Fun program

  • Provided museum experiences for 1,700 foster families (collaborated with 18 agencies in 11 counties) through the Foster Family Admissions program

  • Served hundreds of families with special needs via Early Intervention Play Therapy Access, Pediatric Residency Play Observation, and related programs

  • In association with National Adoption Month, hosted a Children Awaiting Parents display featuring photographs of children eligible for adoption

Additional Highlights

  • Loaned artifacts for display across the nation, including 16 historic board games to the SFO Museum at the San Francisco International Airport for display in the exhibit Let’s Play! 100 Years of Board Games and vintage skateboards to the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for their Sidewalk Surfing: The Art & Culture of Skateboarding exhibit.

  • Photographs of transportation toys from The Strong’s collections were featured in the book Tiny Transportation, produced by students at Rochester Institute of Technology.

International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG)

At 40,000 artifacts and growing, ICHEG’s collection is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive public collection of video games and other electronic games.

Fairchild Channel F Console
Fairchild Channel F Console Case Blue Print

Key Acquisitions

  • A rare, custom-built Fix-It Felix, Jr. arcade video game produced by Disney to promote their 2012 animated film Wreck It Ralph

  • An assemblage of 7,000 Japanese video games and related hardware items

  • A collection of materials that chronicles Gerald A. Lawson’s innovative contributions to the video game industry

  • As assortment of company records that document the history of Strategic Simulations, Inc. from the 1980s to the 1990s

  • A collection of historic pinball machines—including Hercules, Humpty Dumpty, Triple Action, and Vagabond

Additional Highlights

  • Attended the D.I.C.E (Design, Innovate, Communicate, and Entertain) Summit in Las Vegas.

  • Participated on a panel at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

  • Lectured at the International Conference on the History of Games in Montreal, Quebec

  • Presented at the Association of Moving Images Archivists annual conference in Richmond, Virginia on the topic of digital preservation

National Toy Hall of Fame

Toy Hall of Fame induction ceremony
2013 National Toy Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. In 2013, the prestigious hall welcomed two new toy inductees.
2013 induction

  • Honored chess and rubber duck as 2013 inductees (November 7)

  • Generated national and international media coverage from CNN, Good Morning America, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TIME magazine, and USA Today. News coverage included 386 radio and television stations, reaching 18 million, and nearly 5,785 online and print articles

  • Celebrated National Toy Hall of Fame inductees with special activities at The Strong’s National Museum of Play on November 9 and 10

  • Recognized other toy finalists under consideration for the 2013 induction: bubbles, Clue, Fisher Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, scooter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Leigh Rubin Commemorative Cartoons
Leigh Rubin Commemorative Cartoons

Additional Highlights

  • Unveiled commemorative cartoons honoring the 2013 inductees illustrated by nationally syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin of Rubes Cartoons

  • Announced partnership between The Strong and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame  

Brian Sutton-Smith Library & Archives of Play

  • The Brian Sutton-Smith Library & Archives of Play is a multidisciplinary research repository devoted to the intellectual, social, and cultural history of play. In addition to housing the personal library and papers of its preeminent namesake, the 148,000-volume research library and archives holds a full spectrum of primary and secondary sources, including scholarly works, professional journals, other periodicals, trade catalogs, children’s books, comic books, manuscripts, personal papers, business records, and more.

Key Acquisitions

  • A collection of notes, correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, questionnaires, release forms, press releases, and a comprehensive game design binder from Her Interactive, Inc. that documents the history of the company and provides critical insight into female experiences and attitudes towards electronic gaming

  • A collection of premium toy design papers including character product sketches, designs, portfolios, presentations, product notebooks, and reference materials from American product designer Garth Parker

  • A collection of toy design notes, catalog pages and sell sheets, patent information, photographs, audio-visual materials, and  early product descriptions and schematics for Lullaby Lamb, Talking Barney, and Alphie the Robot, among others, from American toy inventor Greg Hyman

  • Personal papers and research from distinguished play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith that document nearly 7 decades of play-related research, teaching, and writing

  • Additional highlights

  • Awarded 14 fellowships through The Strong’s Research Fellowships program

American Journal of Play

American Journal of PlayAmerican Journal of Play Volume 5 Number 1

The American Journal of Play, The Strong’s peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary publication with a global readership aims to increase awareness and understanding of the role of play in learning and human development. Current and archived issues may be viewed free of charge at www.journalofplay.org.