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Museum set to launch national journal on play

When exploring how the Strong National Museum of Play could better focus on its core collection and what it reveals about the dynamics of play, Rollie Adams, president and CEO, found that he and his staff had to study a number of disciplines.
In doing so, Adams found a niche that needed to be filled-there were no scholarly publications that brought together all the diverse fields that go into the study of play. So Adams and Strong Museum made one.
American Journal of Play is slated to launch mid-July and is intended to have appeal across many disciplines, including education, psychology, play therapy, sociology, anthropology, folklore, history, museum study, and toy and game design. The peer-reviewed journal will be published and distributed quarterly by the University of Illinois Press, officials said.
“We realized it would be useful to us and to those fields to have something that created a forum for all those different disciplines,” Adams said. “Also, for an organization based on collections and interpretation of play, we thought we could call greater attention to the Strong National Museum of Play.”
The first issue features content from some of the nation’s most prominent researchers in the field of play, including an article that suggests the rise of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder among children could be slowed by starting each school day with recess. Another article explores the role of imaginary child companions.
Because the journal reaches across so many disciplines, peer review for articles is important to maintain scholarly standards and help editors verify research, said journal editor Jon-Paul Dyson. So far the response from the academic world has been positive, he said.
“There’s a real enthusiasm from people from different disciplines to have a common forum to share these ideas, and we were gratified with that response,” Dyson said. “Play is a very basic thing to human existence. So much of how we define ourselves and relate to one another is based on how we play. It’s almost too bad it took this long for a journal devoted to play to come out.”
Even before its release the journal has exceeded expectations. Adams said University of Illinois Press officials initially told him if the journal had 100 subscribers by the end of the first year it would be successful. There are close to 300 set to receive the first issue across eight countries, and Adams said he hopes eventually to reach 1,000 to 2,000 readers.
“The thing I’m cognizant (of) about reaching those involved is that they all have several journals already devoted specifically to their field, so we’re putting something out there that’s layered on top of that we hope they can read and use,” Adams said. “While there are tens of thousands of psychologists, they’re not all interested in play. If we reach enough that we have visibility and they can see our content from issue to issue and use those parts that are of interest to them, we think we’ll have succeeded.”
[email protected] / 585-546-8303

06/20/2008 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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