The National Toy Hall of Fame is a special museum of recognition, designed to honor toys that have made an impact on people over the years. They are the type of products that no matter who you are, regardless of wealth, nationality, or background, you will know what they are. Currently 34 toys reside in the Hall of Fame, which fall all intents and purposes is supposed to represent the very best of the toy industry over the years. It is a really interesting thing, and if you haven’t heard of it, spend a few moments to take a look there sometime at: http://www.strongmuseum.org/NTHoF/NTHoF.html
The Hall of Fame was established back in 1998, by a children’s museum in Salem, Oregon, but eventually got so huge that it had to be moved to Rochester, New York. More than 70,000 different toys are on display at the museum, and nearly everything you have ever head of can be found there. But, it is only a select few of all of these toys that have qualified to enter into the National Toy Hall of Fame. At the bottom of my posting, I included the list of the current members of said Hall of Fame.
Inducted toys are selected on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered.
2. Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations.
3. Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play.
4. Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.
The really cool thing about the Hall of Fame, is that the nominations are selected from the publics opinion. To nominate a toy, you can simply go to the website and type up what the toy is, and why you think it should be in the Hall of Fame. Then, each year, there is a selection period where a select number of toys are put into the Hall of Fame. It is a really cool process in my opinion, and it really helps to point out the best of the best when it comes to toys.
It’s really amazing what the impact of toys on children is, and it is an exciting thing to be able to look back and see all of the items that you have played with over the years while growing up. There are of course thousands of nominees each year, but an internal museum Advisory Committee comprised of curators, educators, and historians, reviews the submitted nominations and determines which toys meet the criteria for selection. After that, a National Selection Committee then reviews the list of toys that meet the criteria, and they vote for their top choices on the list.
I think that its great to have something like this in our society, and I think supporting it is a great way to keep a history of the toys that have shaped our nation. Visiting the site, taking the trip to visit, or just spreading the word that it exists are all great methods of support. With a reconstruction of their facility coming up, the Hall of Fame is going to be a great place to take the whole family. I for one love that there is a Toy Hall of Fame, and can’t wait to see what toys will be inducted in 2006!
The list of Current Toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame:
Etch A Sketch®
Jacks, Jigsaw Puzzle
Mr. Potato Head®
Radio Flyer® Wagon