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 & Archives of Play, 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.
Independent and not-for-profit, The Strong is situated in Rochester, New York, where it collects and cares for hundreds of thousands of objects including toys, dolls, board games, video games, other electronic games, and other objects that illuminate the meaning and importance of play. Together, these materials enable a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and other interpretive activities that serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.
The Strong’s Key Programmatic Elements
Each programmatic element provides a unique framework through which The Strong develops, organizes, and delivers educational services.
International Center for the History of Electronic Games
The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of geography and culture. At 60,000 objects and growing, ICHEG cares for one of the largest and most comprehensive public collections of video and electronic games, and game-related historical materials in the world.
National Toy Hall of Fame
The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have demonstrated popularity over multiple generations and thereby gained national significance in the world of play and imagination. Each year the hall inducts additional honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of the classic icons of play. Anyone can nominate a toy to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of a national selection committee comprised of historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity, and discovery through their lives and careers.
World Video Game Hall of Fame
The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.
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 eminent play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith, the 187,000-volume research library and archives holds a full spectrum of primary and secondary resources, including scholarly works, popular and children’s books, professional journals, other periodicals, trade catalogs, comics, manuscripts, game design materials, personal papers, and business records.
Woodbury School uses the power of play to nurture children’s learning, creativity, and self-discovery. Offering an early kindergarten program for four- and five-year-olds and a preschool program for three- and four-year-olds, the curriculum at Woodbury School is Reggio Emilia-inspired and is therefore responsive to the interests of the children in the class. This approach uses a curriculum philosophy that encourages teachers and students to work together to plan and create projects. Guided by their interests, children learn and develop in playful activities set among the engaging, dynamic, hands-on exhibits at The Strong.
American Journal of Play
The American Journal of Play is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary publication that serves as a forum for discussing the history, science, and culture of play. Published three times each year, the Journal includes articles, interviews, and book reviews written for a broad readership that includes educators, psychologists, play therapists, sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists, historians, museum professionals, toy and game designers, policy makers, and others who consider play for a variety of reasons and from various perspectives.