National Museum of Play News Release

March 18, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359, strien@thestrong.org
Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@thestrong.org

Make Your Move at Game Time!
Original Exhibit Opening
at National Museum of Play® at The Strong® April 13

ROCHESTER, New York—Your turn! Move like a piece on a giant game board through three centuries of American games, puzzles, and public amusements at Game Time! an original permanent exhibit opening at the National Museum of Play at The Strong on Saturday, April 13.

On your way to the finish line, enjoy colorful displays of rare historic treasures from The Strong’s unparalleled game and puzzle collections—many never available to the public before. A gaggle of games both old and new invite families to jump right in for active hands-on fun. Feast your eyes on oversized toy props—from jumbo chess and Sorry game pieces at the entryway, to a towering domino tile, and a knight in shining armor standing guard over cases of role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. (Among the rare treasures on display is the The Dalluhn Manuscript, most likely authored by D&D developers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1973, and believed to be the earliest existing version of the game.)

Conquer the maze in a custom-made, two-foot-wide game of Perplexus, designed especially for The Strong, and compare it to the 1889 original handheld ball maze Pigs in Clover that President Benjamin Harrison was known to enjoy. Check out oversized games of Connect Four, Battleship, and Rush Hour. Play a flashing, electronic, big-screen version of bingo. Challenge yourself to a slew of family gaming favorites including air hockey, dome hockey, pinball, word search games, tangrams, puzzles, dominoes, and Jenga. Relax at a picnic table and use fingers, paper, and your imagination to play an “unplugged” game of paper football.

Encounter cases filled with games and puzzles from every decade and of every ilk. Not mere playthings, these examples show how play and game design have changed over centuries and how these changes reflect the culture of their times. The nation’s first jigsaw puzzles, for example were educational tools, teaching girls and boys geography; an 1890 board game Round the World  with Nellie Bly celebrated the intrepid newspaper journalist’s circumnavigation of the globe; and the 1943 party game Party Capers for Everyone was designed to help give World War II couples a chance to break the ice.

A major timeline showcases artifacts, photographs, and multimedia to trace the history of board-, card-, and role-playing games from 1840 to the present day. Among the highlights are classic 19th-century board games such as The Mansion of Happiness (1843) and The Checkered Game of Life (1860), which carried serious moral messages and rewarded virtues like punctuality and sobriety while punishing less acceptable social behaviors. The Game of the District Messenger Boy (1886) showed how a humble letter-carrier could climb the corporate ladder if he avoided temptation, and Tutoom (1923) made the best of public fascination with mummies.

Game Time! is phase two of a five-phase project to transform the museum’s second floor into America at Play, a highly interactive exhibit on the history of play in America. The first phase, eGameRevolution, explores electronic games. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Strong acknowledges the support of Greater Hudson Heritage Network for artifact preservation.

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Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

General Admission Fees (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): age 2 and older $13, under age 2 free, members free.

Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden: General Admission fee plus $3 for members, $4 for nonmembers, under age 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only.

Parking:  Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.