From the oversized, colorful child’s blocks near its entrance to the butterfly-shaped addition housing its butterfly garden, The Strong National Museum of Play is one of the most visually distinctive buildings in Rochester.
What happens at The Strong also informs and molds its distinctive space. In the words of nominator Karyl Friedman, “Every age can have a fun and entertaining time with every visit to this joyous place. It’s a blast!!”
The Strong is an educational nonprofit that explores play and the ways in which it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history. It houses the world’s largest collection of play-related objects, such as dolls, games, board games, and toys.
The exterior of the museum, which underwent a major expansion in 2006 to add the blocks and the butterfly garden, mimics the fun and whimsy that guests can expect to find inside. The Strong is now working on a new expansion as part of a larger Neighborhood of Play, which will include a hotel, retail spaces, and housing built by partners Indus Hospitality Group and Konar Properties. The museum will also be adding a 90,000-square-foot new wing to the main building.
The Strong was built in 1982 and was about half the size that it is now. The Strong’s expansion in 2006, which introduced the playful exterior elements to the building, was designed by CJS Architects. The team at CJS is working on the museum’s next expansion project, as well.