Millennial Madness: The Toys that Shaped a Generation

Travel back to the 1990s—the era of grunge and the rising Internet— to explore the toys, dolls, and video games that shaped a generation at Millennial Madness, a new display featured in The Strong’s America at Play exhibit on the second floor. From Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo to the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64, learn about how these iconic playthings entertained and influenced more than 80 million kids:

  • Discover how changing technologies and widespread access to the Internet spurred a boom in technology toys, like the virtual pet Tamagotchi and the interactive Furby.
  • Get caught up in the collecting craze of the 90s with Beanie Babies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures.
  • Explore the changing face of toys and see how companies began diversifying their products with more multicultural toys, such as Mattel’s Shani doll. Also, learn about the successes of Olmec Toys, Golden Ribbon Playthings, and other Black-owned toy manufacturers.
  • Learn about the rise of environmental consciousness in the 90s and how it was reflected in toys, from environmental heroes like Captain Planet to a reimagined G. I. Joe, now battling eco-terrorists.
  • Explore the decline of free play and how Baby Einstein’s line of toys, videos, and music reflected the era’s growing micromanagement of play.

Millennial Madness: The Toys that Shaped a Generation is produced by The Strong.