President’s Letter – July 3, 2013: Toy Industry Hall of Fame Partnership with The Strong

Last week in Rochester, New York, I was privileged to participate in a widely reported press conference to announce our exciting new partnership with The Strong museum.  Under the terms of an agreement between TIA and The Strong, TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame and The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame will be joined under one roof, and by year-end 2015 a stunningly renovated gallery at The Strong will showcase both the iconic toys that generations of children have cherished, and the celebrated individuals who created them.

Our industry well remembers when the Toy Industry Hall of Fame was displayed on the bridge joining the two buildings of the former Toy Center in New York City.  When those properties were sold eight years ago, the hall was dismantled and its plaques were placed in a New Jersey storage facility where they have remained for far too long.  Since that time, 14 additional giants of the toy industry have been inducted into the Hall, which at present resides only in virtual reality on the TIA website.    

To view a slideshow with renderings of the proposed joint Halls of Fame gallery, click here.

We have always intended to find a new home for an actual Hall of Fame that would be a worthy tribute to the individuals who have brought joy to many millions of children and adults.  This has been no easy task.  After conducting extensive research on the economic, educational and cultural assets of children’s museums and other facilities throughout the United States, our Board of Directors selected The Strong as the new permanent home for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

The Strong provides an exceptional backdrop for our Hall of Fame. It is the only museum in the world dedicated specifically to exploring the value of play, and its exhibits examine the ways in which playthings illuminate our cultural history — a history in which toy inventors, designers, manufacturers, marketers and licensors have played an integral role.  

The Strong  has more than 600,000 visitors annually who enjoy a wide  scope of resources, including the National Museum of Play, the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of play, the American Journal of Play, and a  stunning collection of more than 400,000 play-related artifacts…..the largest such collection in the world.  Every day The Strong is filled with the laughter and excitement of children enjoying its wonderful play areas, featuring children’s storybook heroes and interactive educational playthings.  Take a closer look at The Strong to see everything this amazing facility has to offer.

 TIA and The Strong have a long history of collaboration. The Strong has displayed its National Toy Hall of Fame at Toy Fair, and TIA has hosted a national toy design conference at The Strong.  This latest partnership will serve not only to build a monument to both toys and their makers, but to build a long-lasting relationship between two important institutions that are natural allies in promoting the value of play.

Warm regards to all,