What is the National Toy Hall of Fame?
The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by A. C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, a children’s museum in Salem, Oregon, to recognize toys that have achieved longevity and national significance in the world of play and imagination. The hall quickly outgrew its original home and in 2002, The Strong—home to hundreds of thousands of play-related objects including the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of toys and dolls—acquired and moved the hall to its permanent home in Rochester, New York. The hall provides opportunities for hands-on experiences and intergenerational memory-sharing among guests.
Why do toys merit a hall of fame?
Toys are among the most important human artifacts. They are learning tools. By guiding play, they foster imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. They socialize us and teach fairness. They reveal what we believed and valued, encouraged and endorsed, dismissed and feared. They remind us of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to become. They help us imagine what’s next.
What important roles do toys play in our lives?
Toys build physical and mental skills; foster creativity and imagination; encourage critical and strategic thinking; teach fair play and cooperation; connect kids and adults; hold memories and provide windows into the past; reflect the ideas, beliefs, values, and attitudes of their creators and users; reveal historical change; predict the future; educate and entertain.
What are the criteria for selecting toys for the National Toy Hall of Fame?
- Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered.
- Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations.
- Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play.
- Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.
What is the process for selecting toys for the National Toy Hall of Fame?
The public can nominate toys on site at the National Toy Hall of Fame gallery at The Strong museum, on the National Toy Hall of Fame website, or by U.S. mail. Each year, an internal museum advisory committee comprised of curators, educators, and historians, reviews the submitted nominations and determines which 12 toys best meet the criteria for selection. A National Selection Committee then reviews that list of 12 toys and each member votes for his or her top toy choices. The votes are then tallied, with the toys receiving the most votes making the cut for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.