The National Toy Hall of Fame – Rochester, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Rochester, New York

The National Toy Hall of Fame

A collection of the best toys ever made, The National Toy Hall of Fame is filled with kids, fun, and for some reason, a bird preserve. 

What do GI Joes, Duncan Yo-Yos, and sticks have in common? Answer: They have all been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame!

Located on the top floor of The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, the Toy Halls of Fame - and the museum as a whole - is a great place to bring kids and enjoy your own youth, as well, but be forewarned: As it’s at the Museum of Play, the whole museum doubles as a children’s play area. It’s buzzing with activity and there’s a constant threat of a child running into you.

Established in 1998, the Toy Hall of Fame had its original home in Salem, Oregon before moving to Rochester and The Strong in 2002. Since 1998, 49 toys have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The first class included 17 toys: Barbie, Crayola Crayon, Erector Set, Etch-A-Sketch, Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Marbles, Monopoly, Play-Doh, Radio Flyer wagon, Roller Skates, Teddy Bear, Tinkertoys, View-master, Duncan Yo-Yo. In 2011, the inductees were the dollhouse, Hot Wheels, and the blanket - also known as Blankie.

If you think your favorite toy is missing from the hall of fame, you can nominate it and it will be considered for next year’s class. Nominated toys are selected on the basis of criteria, which includes icon-status, longevity, discovery, and innovation. Inductions are held every November, so get your entries in early.

In addition to the National Toy Hall of Fame, The Strong National Museum of Play also houses an awesome retrospective video game exhibit, an amazing butterfly garden, and an old diner, a vintage carousel, and the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys and other materials related to play — a great day trip.