In everything it does, The Strong National Museum of Play is dedicated to preserving its unique and expansive collection so that it will continue represent the history of play for future generations.

The Strong’s team of curators, historians, conservators, archivists, librarians, and technicians work diligently to preserve the museum’s collection of more than 510,000 items. Museum, library, and archives collections are stored in controlled temperature and relative humidity conditions that ensure materials will be preserved for years to come. New acquisitions and donations to the collection are examined for pests, rehoused in archival storage materials, and documented before storage as part of preventive conservation. Conservators perform preventive care to maintain objects in good condition, so the artifacts can be gently handled and securely placed in storage without damage.

Conservation lab workspaceMany museum objects enter the collection with signs of play and use. When items arrive with signs of damage or wear, the museum carefully conserves them to maintain their appearance, meaning, and material integrity. Conservation treatment such as cleaning and repair work is performed by specialized professionals who are trained to work on dolls, toys, tabletop games, and video games.

Digital Preservation

As caretaker of the world’s most comprehensive collection of materials related to the history of electronic games, The Strong has become expert in tackling many of the challenges inherent in preserving digital media. The museum’s efforts include maintaining a collection of hundreds of decades-old arcade and pinball machines; accessing and preserving old computer files created for generations of obsolete systems; using cutting-edge tools to preserve digital content on the latest consoles, computers, and smart phones; and caretaking a wide range of unique and irreplaceable digital archival materials from the individuals and companies that have shaped the history of the games industry.

The museum’s facilities include three dedicated labs focused on digital preservation, operated by a team of internationally recognized experts in the challenges of digital preservation. Museum staff have also developed robust policies, procedures, and processes to monitor and safeguard the digital collections. Staff members collaborate and dialogue with institutions and individuals around the world who are working to solve the many problems inherent in the preservation of digital culture, and those interested in talking further to The Strong about our digital preservation work can contact our digital games curator, Andrew Borman, at aborman@museumofplay.org.

View The Strong’s Digital Preservation Handbook.

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