On September 12, The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York released the 12 finalists of toys eligible for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame which calls the second floor of The Strong home.
Joining returning finalists the Magic 8 Ball, and the card game Uno are the American Girl dolls, chalk, the board game Chutes & Ladders, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, the Masters of the Universe action figures, the pinball machine, the sled the game Tic-tac-toe, Tudor Electric football, and the ever lovable Tickle Me Elmo.
Created in 1986, the American Girl dolls were created to explore the social and cultural history of the United States.
Chalk has been around since the days of the Cave Man and has adorned the walls of caves…and sidewalks for thousands of years.
Based on the ancient Indian game Snakes and Ladders, Chutes and Ladders landed on American shores in 1943. And while the game no longer includes the moral lessons of the original, it has thrilled wee ones for generations.
The Fisher-Price Corn Popper has filled homes with toddlers with the sounds of loud popping since 1957.The toy was designed to stimulate the senses and aid in the strengthening of motor skills.
Introduced in 1946, the Magic 8 Ball has allowed owners to dabble harmlessly into the world of fortune-telling. Since its introduction 70 years ago, millions of the giant black balls have been sold.
The Masters o the Universe action figures are a classic example of iconic influence with toys, merchandise, comic books, TV series, and hit films.
The Pinball machine has been a staple in eating and entertainment establishments for generations. The game was inspired by the 18th century French parlor game Bagatelle.
Long before it became a winter time toy for children, the sled was used to haul everything from stones to ferrying armies across the ice. The winter weather toy has seen many changes over the years but it continues to be a staple of outdoor entertainment in the snowier climates.
At some point every child has adorned his school notebooks and book covers with the ancient game of Tic-tac-toe. The grid game of X’s and O’s has long been a staple of passing the time.
During the 1996 holiday shopping season, a giggling red monster took over and created a world wide phenomenon that continues today. The furry red “Sesame Street” muppet known as Elmo has spawned the creation of other “Sesame Street” residents being turned into giggling monsters while continuing to bring smiles…and giggles…to children the world over.
Before there were hand held electronic video games, there was the Tudor Electric Football game that used an electromagnetic motor to operate. This year the game celebrates 70 years of the little plastic players vibrating up and down the field.
The card game of Uno – one in Spanish and Italian – made its debut in 1971. Since then there have been millions of players who have dealt the brightly coloured cards in an effort to be the first player with only one – “Uno” – cards in their hand.
The Strong vice president of collections Christopher Bensch spoke on the finalists saying, “these 12 toys represent different play styles, from outdoor to imaginative, and different eras, from ancient to more modern. But they all share an undeniable ability to inspire people of all ages to learn, create, and discover through play.”
Each year The National Toy Hall of Fame receives thousands of nominations for induction into the Hall of Fame, but only those toys that have demonstrated longevity, its educational value through play, how the toy has inspired how children play or future designs, the toy’s iconic status around the world, and its cultural influence.
The new class of Hall of Fame inductees will be announced at The Strong on November 8 with a community celebration over the weekend.
To date there have been a total of 65 toys inducted into The National Toy Hall of Fame ranging from the stick and cardboard box to board games and electronic games.
The National Toy Hall of Fame was created in 1998 in Salem, Oregon. In 2002, The Strong became the new and permanent home of The National Toy Hall of Fame.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York