2014 Annual Report Highlights

The Strong

  • The Strong 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

    The Handbook of the Study of Play cover
    The Handbook of the Study of Play
  • Greeted nearly 17,000 member households

  • Posted more than 70 blogs to CHEGheads, Play Stuff, re:Play, and Play in Mind

  • Welcomed 7 interns from 6 colleges

  • Raised more than $107,000 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 1,700 runners to the Reindeer Run benefiting The Strong

  • Welcomed more than 70 game and puzzle collectors, historians, and industry leaders as part of the Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors 30th Annual Convention

  • Greeted members of The Association for the Study of Play for their 40th annual conference titled “Play: Connecting the Past, Present, and Future”

  • Published The Handbook of the Study of Play, a co-published, co-edited anthology, where diverse thinkers across academic disciplines explore the vital role of play in human development

Grants of Note

  • Empire State Development, $220,000, to support New York State tourism marketing initiatives

  • Empire State Development, $220,000, to support tourism in the state of New York

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services, $149,993, to support the construction of Build, Drive, Go! exhibit

  • National Endowment for Humanities, $500,000, to support National Toy Hall of Fame exhibit

  • M&T Bank, $25,000, to support The Strong’s 2014–2015 education programs

National Acclaim

  • National television shows and networks such as TODAY Show (twice), CBS Sunday Morning, Headline News, Reuters TV, and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon 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 Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post

  • National and international websites such as those for ABC, Business Week, CBS News, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Examiner, NBC, Today, Today’s Parent, and Yahoo News

  • Local coverage included numerous articles in newspapers such as Binghamton Press & Sun, City Newspaper, Democrat and Chronicle, Elmira Gazette, Genesee Valley Parent, Ithaca Journal, Rochester Business Journal, and Sunday Star Gazette

  • Video game industry publications and websites such as Game Informer, Retro Magazine, and Wired 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 7,000 jigsaw puzzles that date back to the 18th century from renowned expert and author on jigsaw puzzle history, Anne Williams

    Anne Williams Jigsaw Puzzle collection
    Anne Williams Jigsaw Puzzle Collection
  • A rare, hand-colored Pope and Pagan board game by the Ives Company in 1844 from collector Diane Olin

  • An early teddy bear manufactured in the early 20th century by the Ideal Toy Company

  • More than 300 international reference books, dollhouses, toy manufacturer trade catalogs, and personal papers of Flora Gill Jacobs, international authority on dollhouses and miniatures

  • An assemblage of nearly every toy made in the first half of the 20th century by the Toy Tinkers Company from collector Ann Heuer Lewis

  • An array of historic Parker Brothers games donated by Phillip Orbanes


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

  • Named number 1 among the top 10 family museums in the country and number 4 among the top 12 favorite family destinations in the country by FamilyFun magazine

  • Named one of 9 top culture museums worth the drive by Sherman’s Travel

  • Named one of 10 must-visit family museums by readers of Family Travel, the parenting guide of Central New York

  • Included by Destinations Travel Magazine in a list of the nation’s best museums

Play Pals exhibit
Play Pals



  • Boardwalk Arcade, a summertime exhibit that showcases the seaside amusement scene of 19th and early 20th-century Coney Island or Atlantic City (May 20–September 7)

  • Play Pals, a permanent exhibit that traces the evolution of dolls, action figures, toy soldiers, plush animals, and other toys of childhood imagination (opened December 4, permanent)

  • Joey and Johnny, the Ninjas, a temporary exhibit illuminating the creative thinking behind the illustrated Joey and Johnny, the Ninjas novel series


  • LEGO Castle Adventure, produced by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in conjunction with LEGO Systems Inc. (October 4–February 1)

  • Love, Shirley Temple, a display that showcases dozens of objects from Temple’s early life, including movie costumes, dolls, and childhood memorabilia

Public Program Highlights

  • Presented more than 100 public programs
    2014 Winter Calendar
    2014 Spring Calendar
    2014 Summer Calendar
    2014 Fall Calendar

  • Presented Superheroes Weekend, which included meet-and-greets with Marvel superheroes Iron Man and Spiderman, early comic book art, games, and more (April)

  • Celebrated Hess Trucks 50th Anniversary Mobile Tour Launch (November)

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

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

  • Provided patch and badge activities for more than 600 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 more than 482 pre- and in-service teachers

  • Educated 54 3- and 4-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 1,000 area high school students to the museum’s 24th annual Advanced Placement History Conference

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 nearly 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

  • 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

International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG)

At 55,000 artifacts and growing, ICHEG’s collection is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive public collection of video games and other electronic games.

John Romero
John Romero

Key Acquisitions

  • A collection of original artwork, design notes, schematics, game source code, corporate records, and one-of-a-kind artifacts that document the history of Atari Coin-Ops Divisions from 1972–1999

  • An original Apple II+ computer used by designer John Romero to develop  his first published game

  • An assemblage of games, graphics software, game development materials, and company correspondence from Penguin Software founder and lead developer Mark Pelczarski that document the company’s development of key software tools that made it possible for programmers to create cutting-edge graphics in the early 1980s

  • An assortment of games, consumer software, and corporate records that document the history of Brøderbund Software and the development of the computer games industry in the 1980s and 1990s from Doug Carlston, computer games pioneer and founder of Brøderbund Software, Inc.

Additional Highlights

  • Featured in Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife by Raiford Guins

  • Published first periodic ICHEG’s newsletter

  • Hosted a one-night only performance of Video Games Live at the Eastman Theatre, Rochester, New York

  • Formed partnership with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) of Los Angeles, California to develop an interactive exhibit that highlights its history

National Toy Hall of Fame

The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. In 2014, the prestigious hall welcomed three new toy inductees.

Toy Hall of Fame indcution ceremony 2014 National Toy Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

2014 Induction

  • Honored bubbles, little green army men, and Rubik’s Cube as 2014 inductees (November 6)

  • Generated national and international media coverage from the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, Headline News, and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

  • Celebrated National Toy Hall of Fame inductees with special activities at The Strong’s National Museum of Play on November 8 and 9

  • Recognized other toy finalists under consideration for the 2014 induction: American Girl dolls, Fisher-Price Little People, Hess Toy Trucks, My Little Pony, Operation Skill Game, paper airplane, pots and pans, Slip’N Slide, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Additional Highlights

  • Math Magazine (produced by Scholastic) published a story about the National Toy Hall of Fame aimed at middle-school-age students.  

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 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

  • Personal papers and research from play scholar Doris Bergen that document nearly four decades of her studies of educational psychology and early childhood education fields

  • A collection of business papers, patents, notes, and published game instructions from former executive at Parker Brothers, Inc., Le Roy Howard

    Jordan Mechner collection
    Jordan Mechner Collection

    A collection of game design documentation, notes, reference material, drawings, film, video, photographs, source code, business records, correspondence, and marketing materials from Jordan Mechner, creator of the bestselling Prince of Persia franchise

  • A collection of research notes, presentations, scholarly articles, and books that span the career of Lella Gandini, leading advocate for the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education

Additional Highlights

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

American Journal of Play

American Journal of Play coverAmerican Journal of Play Volume 6 Number 3

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.