The Strong Receives Grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

September 18, 2014

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325,

The Strong Receives Museums for America Grant
from Institute of Museum and Library Services

ROCHESTER, New York—The Strong is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $149,993 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Museums for America Program to assist the ongoing transformation of The Strong’s second floor into an artifact-dense, interactive, interpretive exhibit titled America at Play. The Strong is one of 196 museums across the nation to be awarded the IMLS grant out of 554 that applied for funding.

Rich in objects from The Strong’s world-renowned collections, and complemented by hands-on activities, America at Play features four complementary, thematic zones that will tell the story of the way that play has changed, stayed the same, and affects us all—adults and children alike. The exhibit represents the first-ever historical overview of three centuries of play in America.

The IMLS funding will be applied toward the fabrication and installation of a 2,500-square-foot miniature worlds zone that focuses on play with toy vehicles, building toys, and miniature settings—expected to open in November 2015—and tentatively titled Build, Drive, Go! The Strong’s collection of toy vehicles and building toys is the largest diversified collection of such artifacts in a public institution in the United States, showcasing not only how these toys have changed over time, but also how these changes have reflected and influenced American culture in general. Among the rare artifacts on view will be a 1865 tinplate train from George Brown, a 1869 tinplate clockwork boat from Ives, Blakeslee, & Co., and a Britton & Eaton’s log cabin play house from 1870 (a precursor to Lincoln Logs). Interactive components in the exhibit will include a construction area featuring a wide range of building materials plus a test track, where guests can modify the track to make their vehicles go faster.  

According to G. Rollie Adams, president and CEO of The Strong, “The multi-stage America at Play project lies at the core of The Strong’s play-based mission and is the result of years of strategic planning, scholarly research, and audience assessment. It includes the museum’s trademark blend of artifacts, interactivity, and interpretation.”      

The first America at Play zone, eGameRevolution, is a 5,000-square-foot interactive exhibit that opened to the public November 2010. Guests can play their way through the history of video games—from the dawn of Pong to today’s Xbox 360—and learn how video games have changed the way we play, learn, and relate to each other. Game Time!—the second America at Play opened in April 2013. The exhibit invites guests to move like a piece on a giant game board through 300 years of games, —Play Pals—opens December 6, 2014, and focuses on dolls, stuffed animals, toy soldiers, and action figures.

About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy 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. Known widely as the nation’s museum of play, The Strong blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) to explore the ways in which play encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and more than 25,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.