The Strong Museum has a new exhibit called ‘Game Time!’ It chronicles the games and toys people played with throughout three centuries of American history. The interactive children’s museum exhibit allows visitors to move around like a piece on a giant game board, play with oversized toy props, and see historic items from the game and puzzle collections. The focus of the exhibit is family oriented, active and hands-on.
Visitors will be able to track the history of games through a multimedia timeline. It showcases historic artifacts, photographs, advertisements, and videos. For a limited time, there will be rare relics on display. For example, an Irish Game known as Síochán leat, which was designed to explore the 17th-century invasion of Ireland. Another example is the Dalluhn Manuscript, a text believed by some experts to be the earliest existing version of Dungeons & Dragons.
The Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, Jason Smith, praises the exhibit. “I truly admire everything that the Strong museum does,” Smith said. “The idea behind this interactive exhibit is incredible. I mean, think about it. What better way to get people involved with the history of games than by letting them actually interact with them? It’s the same thing we do at Click-A-Brick with our toy lines: learning through play.”
At the exhibit there are oversized versions of games like Connect Four, Rush Hour, and Battleship. Visitors can play with a flashing, electronic, big-screen toy bingo. There are also traditional games such as air hockey, pinball, puzzles, and dominoes.
The game history timeline begins in the 19th century. During this time, gaming was viewed as a waste of time, therefore game creators focused on wholesome games for people to play. Board games such as Mansion of Happiness and the Checkered Game of Life rewarded virtuous behavior. Map puzzles taught geography or demonstrated America’s westward expansion.
Later on, a growing middle class and the rise of urbanization led to games losing their moral overtones. For example, the game of Risk allowed players attempt to dominate the world. In the mid-20th century, the game Scrabble grew out of a popular fascination with crossword puzzles. Twister appeared in 1966 and in 1995 designer Klaus Teuber created the Settlers of Catan; a game that still enjoys popularity today
Georg de Gorostiza, the Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, lauds the museum’s efforts. “Games are an essential part of our history,” de Gorostiza said. “They are a direct reflection of our culture. Game Time! at The Strong illuminates and inform us about American history. You can bring your family to learn and play as they travel through three centuries of games in America. How cool is that?”
The GameTime! exhibit is produced by The Strong and made possible in part by the Mary Valentine and Andrew Cosman Trusts.
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