The Strong Museum of Play – Bringing Generations Together
Every spring my wife and I look forward to our summer trips to my in-laws in upstate New York. This year we took a trip to the Strong National Museum of Play in downtown Rochester. In between chasing down my newly walking toddler, shopping at the fully functional child-sized interactive Wegmans supermarket (which is both delightful and horrific), I was able to enjoy the history of play in America throughout the museum. The Strong provides a look at this country’s rich history and variations of how we “play.”
The American Comic Book Heroes: The Battle of Good vs. Evil exhibit contains a robust collection of toys and comics to enjoy on display and read. The Play Pals exhibit contains a preserved history of the evolution of toys in America dating back three centuries. The middle of the room contained a kid sized play house to distract the kids while adults enjoy the toys on display. A strong sense of nostalgia overtook me seeing some of my now long trashed childhood toys from the 1980s and 1990s. The eGameRevolution exhibit displays a history of video games from Pong and the 1970s to the present day. On display are the major consoles and games from each decade. The exhibit also contains almost four dozen playable arcades, from classics such as Asteroids, Defender, Pac-Man, Pong, Punch-Out!, Tetris, and many more.
The museum is an awesome place to visit a preserved history of play in America. The nostalgia that every age group will experience here is undeniable. It is wonderful that our culture allows us to have a place like this where we can celebrate and preserve the importance of our imagination and how we use play to cultivate and shape it. As my daughter grows older, I will be able to share with her all of the joys and memories of my childhood and also create our own memories that we will be able to share and experience. I will enjoy our annual trip to the Strong National Museum of Play to share in the history and enjoyment of all types of play.