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Toy Halls of Fame exhibit unveiled at The Strong Museum

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The Strong National Museum of Play on Thursday unveiled its new Toys Hall of Fame permanent exhibit. The $4 million state-of-the-art addition to the museum brings together The Strong's National Toy Hall of Fame -- which for years has showcased beloved, classic toys -- and the Toy Industry Association's Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The TIA Hall of Fame recognizes the creative people and companies -- such as Walt Disney, George Lucas, Jim Henson, Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, Radio Flyer, and Toys 'R' Us -- who design, make, and sell them.

The unveiling doubles as a celebration of TIA's 100th anniversary and more than two years of a partnership between TIA and The Strong.

The high-tech exhibit includes five themed, educational, and hands-on subsections: imagine, create, build, move, and compete. A dramatic staircase leads visitors past a gallery of animated portraits of classic toys, into a more than 5,000-square foot space that includes interactive elements such 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. Touch-screen kiosks in the space allow guests to learn about the toys and luminaries showcased in the hall.

A public weekend celebration will be held on Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20. Museum hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission costs $13.50, and free to members and visitors under age 2. For more information, visit museumofplay.org.

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