Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Priority Project will be a One-of-a Kind Nationally Significant Tourist Attraction
Governor Cuomo announced the opening of a cutting-edge, $4 million state-of-the-art Toy Halls of Fame exhibit at The Strong Museum in Rochester. The exhibit, a Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development priority project, houses the National Toy Hall of Fame—which recognizes classic toys—alongside the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame—which recognizes the outstanding individuals who design, make, and sell toys. The two prestigious halls and their unique, high-tech housing is expected to draw regional and national attention as America’s most beloved toys are recognized together with toy industry luminaries such as Walt Disney; George Lucas; Jim Henson; and the founders of Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, Radio Flyer, and Toys “R” Us.
"This unique exhibit celebrates the rich history of this industry and will be yet another reason for tourists to visit the internationally recognized Strong Museum," Governor Cuomo said. "We are very excited to host this innovative attraction and urge all visitors to also see what Rochester has to offer."
The Toy Halls of Fame exhibit includes five themed areas—imagine, create, build, move, and compete—where guests can learn about the history of toys beloved by generations. A dramatic exhibit staircase leads past a gallery of animated portraits of classic toys and into a more than 5,000-square foot space that includes such interactives as a 20-foot virtual bubble machine, a 24-foot virtual playroom using Kinect technology, a 20-foot mobile featuring toy images, and a giant kinetic sculpture made of building blocks, balls, a toy car race track, and other toys.
Additional displays feature the Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame inductees and toy industry luminaries recognized by the Toy Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. Touch-screen kiosks in the space allow guests to learn about the toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame and luminaries in the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
"The Strong Museum just got even stronger as a tourist draw for the region by adding the phenomenal Toy Halls of Fame exhibit," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended today's event. "The exhibit will bring more people downtown, resulting in increased spending at restaurants, shops and hotels. I congratulate Rochester for being chosen for this unique opportunity to showcase toys and the shining stars of the toy industry."
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said: “Tourism continues to be a critical economic driver for our region and I thank the Strong Museum, the Toy Industry Association and all those who have contributed to delivering an exhibit that will provide a one of a kind experience for visitors. Our region boasts some of the most beautiful and historic tourist destinations in the world and I am pleased that together we are taking exciting steps to further enhance and strengthen this vibrant industry.”
Senator Joe Robach said, "The Toys Hall of Fame will not only attract people from all of the country, it will help showcase what New York State and the Rochester region are all about - great places to live, work and raise a family. I can't think of a better location than the Strong Museum to house the Toys Hall of Fame, and would like to thank Governor Cuomo and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for the state aid to help make this a reality."
Monroe County Executive Maddie Brooks said, "The Strong is one of the region’s most popular cultural attractions, fully embracing our spirit of innovation, creativity, technology, and education. A true win-win for Monroe County, this new exhibit has earned our community both regional and national attention and will attract even more visitors, boosting tourism and our local economy."
Rochester Mayor Lovey Warren said, “Play enriches our lives in meaningful ways. It serves as a critical teaching tool that supports the cognitive, creative and developmental needs of children as they grow and it fuels creativity that carries on into adulthood. The Strong is an asset that draws people to our city from around the world and we are excited to celebrate the grand opening of the new Toy Halls of Fame exhibit along with the Toy Industry Association. All of this activity helps us create better educational opportunities for our children, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and more jobs for our citizens. Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for supporting this wonderful project.”
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “The new Toy Halls of Fame exhibit provides the region with an opportunity to bring up to 40,000 more visitors to the Strong annually, growing our number one tourist attraction and adding to the quality of life in the region. We are excited to see the significant national and international attention this FLREDC priority project will bring to the Finger Lakes.”
The Strong Museum President and CEO G. Rollie Adams said, “The Strong and Toy Industry Association formed this partnership more than two years ago and are delighted with the result—a dynamic, one-of-a-kind, nationally significant interpretive exhibit and tourist attraction that will appeal to people of all ages across the world. The exhibit is expected to draw an additional 40,000 more visitors to The Strong; bring significant national and international attention to the region; and add to quality of life in the Finger Lakes.”
Toy Industry Association President and CEO Steve Pasierb said, “TIA is proud to have the Toy Industry Hall of Fame housed alongside the National Toy Hall of Fame in this state-of-the-art exhibit. The nation’s museum of play is an extraordinary treasure and provides the perfect home for the Toy Halls of Fame exhibit, which celebrates the toys that have defined play for generations of children, and the industry trailblazers who created them.”
The Toy Halls of Fame exhibit is produced by the Strong in cooperation with the Toy Industry Association. The project is supported by New York State's Empire State Development and the I LOVE NY Division of Tourism under Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. The Strong was awarded $800,000 in Empire State Development funding through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Additional grant funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project is also made possible in part by Neil B. Friedman, Funrise Toy Corporation, Hasbro Children’s Fund, Inc., The Hassenfeld Foundation, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., LEGO Systems, Inc., Pressman Toy Corporation, Radio Flyer Inc., Tom & Karen Kalinske, and Toys “R” Us, Inc.
The exhibit will be included with general museum admission fees.
About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, World Video Game Hall of Fame, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. Known widely as the nation’s museum of play, the Strong blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) to explore the ways in which play encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.
About the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to state investment and economic development. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. As a result of the first two rounds of awards, $1.5 billion in resources have been awarded to support more than 1,400 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs across the Empire State and generating investments to grow the economy. For more information on the regional councils, visithttp://www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
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