Q: The Strong National Museum of Play this week announced a rebranding that would bring all endeavors of the museum under one name, the Strong. Why did this change come about?
A: It came about because we were growing very rapidly in our operations, and after our physical expansion in 2006 we found people everywhere were very responsive to the interpretative track we're taking. Things like the American Journal of Play and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games have succeeded beyond our expectations. We needed another way to discuss all that we're doing and all that we're going to do.
Q: How long has this idea been considered?
A: For a little over two years we've been working on this particular idea, the need to come up with a common denominator for all that we do. We found that every great university, for example, has a name that people identify with, but a lot of people interact with that university through a specific portal like a school of business, a law school or a medical school. We're not trying to model ourselves after any museum in doing this, but there are precedents in what the Ford has done in Dearborn, Mich., or the Getty in Los Angeles.
Q: How does this expand the audience for Strong?
A: All our Play Partners-the National Museum of Play, the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play and the American Journal of Play-have their own audiences, and we thought it was desirable for those audiences to be able to know about all that we do. ICHEG, for instance, reaches people who are interested in electronic games but might not be able to visit us on-site. This will help us grow in general awareness of all we do because it allows people we interact with to see the big picture more easily. They should be almost instantaneously more aware of everything we do.
Q: How are you spreading the message about the change to those constituents?
A: Aside from our media event this week, we are talking with as many different constituents as we can, and in the first day or two all of them heard from us about it. We think it will take people a while to get accustomed to the change, but it will help us grow our stature. One thing that surprised me as we prepared for the rollout is the reach of our organization. We have a list of all the places around the world that we have connections, and it was much more intensive than I thought. Most of the states in the United States contributed to our collections, and countries from Europe to Asia.
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