On November 5 The Strong Museum and the National Toy Hall of Fame announced the newest class for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Twelve finalists were chosen with Sidewalk chalk, the building game Jenga, and the baby doll Baby Nancy will join the over 100 toys already housed in the Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.

The 12 finalists – bingo, Breyer Horses, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Risk, Sorry!, Tamagotchi, Baby Nancy, Jenga, sidewalk chalk, and Yahtzee – were selected for their longevity, cultural influence, and ability to inspire.

Along with the numerous interactive exhibits and the National Toy Hall of Fame; The Strong Museum of Play also offers the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, World Video Game Hall of Fame, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, Woodbury School, and the “American Journal of Play”.

Meet the newest inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame…

A product of Shindana Toys, a company dedicated to promoting equality and pride, Baby Nancy is a dark skinned doll and textured hair was introduced in 1968 and went on to become the best selling toy across the United States by Christmas. Subsequent productions featured Nancy sporting an Afro and the first doll to feature authentic Black hair. Shindana Toys went out of business in 1983, but as a cultural breakthrough, Baby Nancy has endured.

Chalk in one form or another has been a part of human culture since the early cavemen drew on the walls. The colourful toy that adorns sidewalks the world over has sparked a multitude of creativity from the classic tic-tac-toe and hopscotch boards to artistic masterpieces.

A game made from small blocks, Jenga sprouted from the inspiration of Leslie Scott and the blocks she played with in Africa as a child. The name Jenga stems from the Swahili word kujenga – to build. A game for all ages, players are challenged to use strategy and skill in removing pieces from the tower of blocks without toppling the structure.

The National Toy Hall of Fame has been a part of The Strong Museum of Play since 1998. Housed on the secnd floor of the museum, the Toy Hall of Fame features all manner of toys of inspiration from the wooden stick or twig found in the yard to challenging games like “Battleship”.

photo credits: Courtesy of The Strong in Rochester, New York