Museum Research & Publications

The Strong engages in a number of research and publishing activities to help shed light on the history, psychology, and culture of play, particularly as reflected and illuminated by the museum's collections.


Elements of Play

Research undertaken by The Strong in pursuit of a definition of play suggests that six basic elements—anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength, and poise—are present each time someone plays fully.

Video Game Play Capture

To ensure that a record will exist should original video games become unplayable, The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) is conducting an extensive and systematic program of video and screen capture of game play. Launched in 2011 with initial funding through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, ICHEG is creating a database of screen shots and video recordings of thousands of pre-2005 games in play. The database is available to scholars conducting research on site at ICHEG.


American Journal of Play

The Strong’s American Journal of Play is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated solely to the study of play. Since its debut in 2008, it has gained broad international readership through thought-provoking content from prominent researchers, thinkers, and writers around the globe.

Authors interested in submitting articles that present significant new research about the nature of play; synthesize and put into perspective major themes of play scholarship; summarize emerging areas of research regarding play; illuminate the important role of play in learning and human development throughout the life cycle; examine the interrelationship of play to other aspects of endeavor; explicate social, cultural, educational, and public policy issues related to play; or explore American cultural history through the window of play should review the Journal’s submission process and instructions for authors.


The Strong publishes and copublishes books that explore play and the ways it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery, and illuminates cultural history.


More than a dozen historians, curators, librarians, and other members of The Strong’s staff regularly research and write about artifacts in the museum’s collections and offer information, insights, and anecdotes on particular topics of play for the Play Stuff Blog. The museum’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play team also produces a Tumblr page that highlights a selection of publications, archival records, and ephemera. In addition, Scott Eberle, the museum’s former vice president for play studies, writes the Play in Mind blog for Psychology Today.


The Strong publishes one print and three electronic newsletters to inform members and other museum users about a variety of museum activities.