“The Strong Museum of Play recognizes toys that have engaged multiple generations over time. Inspiring them to create, learn and discover,” says G. Rollie Adams, president and CEO of the Strong Museum.
The first inductee was “Raggedy Andy”. Created in 1920 by illustrator and cartoonist Johnny Gruelle, Andy finally joined his sister Ann in the Toy Hall of Fame. “Raggedy Ann” was inducted in 2002.
“Raggedy Ann and Andy are childhood. They're cuddly, you take them to bed and I always made them for the kids,” says Lynda Litchhult, a visitor to the Strong Museum from Long Island.
The granddaughter of the doll duo inventor was on hand to sign “Raggedy Ann and Andy” dolls and books.
“Actually, Tom my husband is really responsible for getting Andy in, he really spear-headed the petition drive and I think when Ann got in, there were 30-thousand signatures and I think Andy had close to that,” says Joni Gruelle Wannamaker.
The next inductee is the Hall of Fame’s first electronic inductee, the Atari 2600 Game System.
“But it was the device that made electronic games the staple for millions of American homes,” says JP Dyson, associate curator of electronics games at the Strong Museum, “when you think of toys that really make a difference in how we play, we think of how video games have really changed how we play today and Atari 2600 was really the system.”
“It was a big part of my childhood, I got it for Christmas when I was about 9 years old and probably played with it until I was about 13 or 14,” says Eric Abate, an Atari fan and employee of the Strong Museum.
While Atari may be the youngest inductee, the kite is definitely the oldest. The final inductee for 2007 is estimated to be at least 3000 years old.
“Throughout the centuries, this toy has been made of cloth, paper, nylon, Styrofoam and other substances,” says Patricia Hogan, Strong Museum curator.
“I was pretty excited about the kite because I'm a kite flyer and I think it's great to have the kite in there,” says Sara Boettrich, a kite fan and Strong Museum employee.
This year’s 12 finalists include: Atari Game System, Baby Doll, Big Wheel, Game of Life, Hot Wheels, Kite, My Little Pony, Pogo Stick, Raggedy Andy, Skateboard, Spirograph and Yahtzee.
To date, 38 toys have made it into the Hall of Fame include: Alphabet Blocks, Atari Game System, Barbie, Bicycle, Candy Land, Cardboard Box, Checkers, Crayola Crayons, Duncan Yo-Yo, Easy-Bake Oven, Erector Set, Etch-a-Sketch, Frisbee, G.I. Joe, Hula Hoop, Jack in the Box, Jacks, Jigsaw Puzzle, Jump Rope, Kite, LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Lionel Trains, Marbles, Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh, Radio Flyer Wagon, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Rocking Horse, Roller Skates, Scrabble, Silly Putty, Slinky, Teddy Bear, Tinkertoy, Tonka Trucks and View Master.