Breaking Down The 'Generations of Play, An Oral History' Project­

November 25, 2019 | The deadline for nominations for The Toy Association’s “Generations of Play, An Oral History” project, powered by StoryCorps, is just weeks away on December 13. Do you or someone you know have a toy story you would like to see brought to life in your own words? Your story could end up in The Library of Congress or included on a future segment of NPR’s Morning Edition. Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is “Generations of Play, An Oral History”?

This is a brand-new initiative designed for members of the toy and children’s entertainment community to share and record their personal stories that help capture and chronicle the human history of the toy industry.

The project is powered by StoryCorps, a non-profit that has offered individuals of all background the opportunity, since 2003, to record interviews about their lives that shine a light on the vast range of human experiences. In the following video, founder Dave Isay shares the origin of StoryCorps, highlighting the importance of sharing your story and the wisdom it can provide others.



I’ve got a story. How do I apply?

Individuals are invited to submit personal statements and audio files (required) that give an overview of the story they wish to share for consideration. Whether you are a newcomer to the toy industry or a third- or fourth-generation veteran, no story is too big or too small.

Suggested topics include:

  • accidental success story in toys;
  • origin stories about entering the toy industry;
  • multi-generational industry stories;
  • stories about overcoming hardships related to the toy industry;
  • or charitable service related to the toy industry.

What happens next?

Submissions will be narrowed down to a pool of 15 stories to be recorded on February 22 to 24, 2020, during Toy Fair New York at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Chosen participants will be notified and provided with additional details to prepare to tell their stories on record.

During the recorded 40-minute interviews, a trained StoryCorps facilitator will be present to help guide participants through the process but the actual interviews will be between two people who know each other. This means participants steer the conversation, pose questions, and share meaningful memories and experiences. The sessions will be structured with one participant interviewing the other and participants will receive a copy of the recorded conversations. StoryCorps also provides an overview of what participants can expect throughout the interview here.

Who hears my story?

The 15 recorded stories will be narrowed down to seven by StoryCorps, edited down to three minutes, and archived as the first round of recordings in the toy industry’s StoryCorps series. They will be available on the StoryCorps and Toy Association websites and archived as part of the StoryCorps national oral history project at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress, with the possibility of being included in a future segment of NPR’s Morning Edition. Join us in helping preserve the stories that shape the toy industry.