My book, Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake Oven, was inspired by a trip to The National Toy Hall of Fame located at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. To date, 56 toys – including Lionel Trains, Etch A Sketch, and Silly Putty – have been inducted into the Hall. Toys that meet the criteria for induction have achieved iconic status, longevity, or “profoundly changed play or toy design.”
The road to induction in the Toy Hall of Fame isn’t an easy one. Every year, nominations are solicited from the general public via web or general mail. The annual call for 2015 is currently underway and runs through Friday, July 31st.
Impassioned pleas and grassroots campaigns have occurred throughout the years to help spur public support for the nomination of a specific toy. An internal advisory committee at The Strong reviews all nominations and culls them to the top 12 toys that best meet the criteria.
A National Selection Committee then reviews and critiques the top 12 nominees. Authors, educators, historians, scholars, and others who focus on the areas of play, child development, and innovation comprise the selection committee. Each committee member must choose two of the toys and write an essay that supports those choices. Finally, the two or three toys receiving the most committee votes are announced in November for induction into the Hall of Fame.
To nominate your favorite classic toy, visit toyhalloffame.org/nominate or mail your selection to: The Strong, One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607.