The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, established in 1998, recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the prestigious hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations. Anyone can nominate a toy for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity, and discovery through their lives and careers.
National Toy Hall of Fame Collections
The classic toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame sit alongside and complement The Strong museum collection, the world’s largest and most comprehensive assemblage of toys, dolls, board games, video games, other electronic games, books, photographs, documents, and other historical materials related to play.
To date, 71 toys have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The most recent honorees are Matchbox Cars, Magic: The Gathering, and coloring book.
The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by A. C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, a children’s museum in Salem, Oregon, to recognize toys that have achieved longevity and national significance in the world of play and imagination. The hall quickly outgrew its original home and in 2002, The Strong acquired the hall and moved it to its permanent home in Rochester, New York.
Criteria for Induction
Inducted toys are selected on the basis of the following criteria: 1. Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered. 2. Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations. 3. Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play. 4. Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.
Process for Selection
Anyone can nominate a toy for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Nominations may be submitted at any time on site at the museum, via the Internet, or by U.S. mail. An internal advisory committee comprised of curators, educators, and historians reviews the submitted nominations and determines which toys meet the criteria for selection. A national selection advisory committee then reviews the list of toys that meet the criteria.
News of the National Toy Hall of Fame’s induction each year reaches national and international audiences. Past media coverage has included prominent newspapers such as The New York Times and Chicago Tribune; national television shows such as the Today Show, Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and ABC World News; and international radio programs, including the BBC.