Press Release

The Strong Partners with WeGo

Published October 19, 2021

News release

For more information contact: Shane Rhinewald, The Strong, srhinewald@museumofplay.org;

The Strong Partners with WeGo Foundation
to Allow Hospitalized Children
Robotic Access to the Museum

Golisano Children’s Hospital to
Become First Hospital in Region to Join the Network

ROCHESTER, NY—The Strong National Museum of Play has partnered with the WeGo Foundation to benefit sick children in hospitals across the nation. Children can now explore The Strong with a kid-friendly, fully controllable robot that allows them to see, hear, interact, and communicate with other guests—all from their hospital room. The Golisano Children’s Hospital will also become the first medical facility in the region to join the WeGo network.

“Play is universal—regardless of health or location—and accessibility is a key part of the museum’s mission and values,” says Steve Dubnik, president and CEO of The Strong. “The WeGo Foundation understands this and allows children to restore some autonomy, childhood wonder, and a sense of joy. We’re thrilled to be able to virtually whisk children away from their hospital rooms for some much-needed play. We’re equally thrilled that the Golisano Children’s Hospital will be joining the network, providing these same services to hospitalized children in our community.”

The Strong is the first cultural institution in the area to invest in and offer this program. The museum has purchased a robot that children can maneuver remotely through the museum and that will display their face and sound their voice, allowing them to interact with other children and guests. The Strong is also funding all the necessary tech upgrades, training staff, and developing tours and experiences that will be available to kids and families free of charge in partner hospitals.

“For kids being cared for in the hospital, this ability to virtually embark on real time journeys, to explore the world and make new friends outside of the hospital environment, means everything. It truly helps these kids feel like kids again. We are very excited to be partnering with The Strong and bringing this renowned experience to the bedside for patients,” says Hayden Dux, director of development for the WeGo Foundation.

The WeGo Foundation works currently with 13 hospital systems, including the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, and many national cultural institutions, such as the Spy Museum in Washington, DC, and Baltimore’s National Aquarium. The Golisano Children’s Hospital will be the 14th hospital to join the system and begin offering these services to their patients.

“Staying at the hospital is never easy for children. This partnership with WeGo and The Strong museum will allow us to provide engaging and interactive virtual experiences for our patients outside the four walls of their hospital room, harnessing the power of technology to create a comfortable environment for the best quality care,” says Heather Reyes, M.D., M.E. assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care at URMC and faculty at the UR Health Lab.

“We’re looking forward to this opportunity to partner with The Strong to bring the museum to our children in the hospital and provide them with wonderful educational and interactive activities,” says Wendy Lane, M.S., Child Life program coordinator at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The Strong will offer tours once a month through the end of 2021, scheduled through WeGo Foundation, and add additional days per month in January 2022.

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of 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 and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Golisano Children’s Hospital employs more than 200 pediatric specialists and provides a spectrum of care that spans more than 40 specialty areas, serving the more than 85,000 children and their families each year. It serves as the referral center for all seriously ill or injured children from the 17-county Finger Lakes region and beyond. Our missions are to provide comprehensive care for children and their families, educate future pediatricians and pediatric specialists, and perform progressive research that will lead to the medical breakthroughs of tomorrow.