One of the highlights for me in the summer of 2022 involved traveling to Los Angeles on behalf of the National Archives of Game Show History, The Strong’s initiative to preserve the story of that significant piece of American popular culture. Through the incredible connections of Bob Boden, one of the co-founders of the archives, while I was in L.A. I had the opportunity to attend the filming of an episode of The Price Is Right. While I didn’t get […]
The Top of Its Class
On November 10, 2022, the top was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame along with Lite-Brite and Masters of the Universe. In the runup to the induction, the primary comment I heard about the top ran along the lines of, “What?! You mean the top isn’t already in the Hall of Fame?” That reaction underscores just how universal and timeless the top feels even to people in our highly technological era. It’s definitely a toy with a lengthy […]
Let Me In!
Every year, The Strong receives thousands of nominations for toys that people believe—or, more accurately, KNOW—should be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Most years, the number of nominations hovers in the 4,000–6,000 range. But in 2021, more than 55,000 nominations poured into the museum. Was it just that people working from home with fewer outlets for their attention found themselves with more time to advocate for their favorite toys and games? Maybe. But ever since The Strong […]
Sand may not be running through my veins, but it’s definitely been a significant part of my life for decades. One of my earliest childhood memories involves playing in the backyard sandbox that my dad built. The sandbox wasn’t huge and its wooden construction wasn’t anything fancy, but I spent hours playing in it. Being a kid who loved toy cars, my Tootsie Toy and Matchbox vehicles regularly maneuvered through that miniature sandy landscape and probably spent more than a […]
Liberty’s Lighter Side
When it comes to important symbols of the United States that encapsulate our national aspirations to stand for values such as democracy, freedom, and inclusion, the Statue of Liberty might be at the top of the list. Ever since her inauguration in 1886, she has lifted her torch above New York Harbor, serving as a beacon for countless immigrants. Movingly, Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus” evokes the sense of welcome that the Statue of Liberty represents and concludes, “Send […]
Let’s Put on a Show!
When I was growing up and my sister and I got together with our favorite cousins, there was hardly anything we liked better than putting on a show for the grown-ups. As I recall, the five of us kids would descend to our basement rec room where we’d cook up a script, cast the parts, devise costumes from the dress-up box, and practice our dramatic extravaganza. Meanwhile, I suspect our parents were upstairs rolling their eyes and bracing […]
Chalking Up a Win
Congratulations to sidewalk chalk for earning a place of honor among the three toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame on November 5, 2020. For a plaything that’s been around ever since our early ancestors were drawing on the walls of the caves they called home, that’s proof persistence earning well-deserved acclaim.
But 2020 wasn’t the first year that chalk received recognition as one of the 12 finalists for the Hall of Fame. Back in 2016, chalk’s inclusion on […]
Pin the What?!
What sort of party games stick in your memory? No, not the ones from your teen years which involved getting your first kiss. I’m thinking of the classic party games for children’s birthday parties. And one of the top party games for that demographic—at least in my childhood—would have to be Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The earliest donkey pinning games in The Strong museum’s collection come from the 1890s, which aligns with accounts from the internet (because you […]
Cooking for Fun
When I left home for graduate school and my first apartment, I could barely boil water. But I rapidly recognized that I couldn’t afford to go out to eat very often and I didn’t want to subsist on products from the supermarket’s freezer case. My solution? Learn to cook! Living alone let me experiment and hone my kitchen skills without anyone else around to say, “I thought we were going to eat before 8 p.m.” or “Did you really mean […]