National Toy Hall of Fame

The weekend of 15-16 November 2003 found me in Rochester, New York. Home of Xerox and Kodak, this city also houses the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum. I had built a large Crayola Crayon Box for the museum, and this weekend I arrived to make sure it had been installed correctly as well as demonstrate some of my LEGO building skils to the families who would be attending the 'Adventures in Toyland' weekend the museum had planned for those days.

The museum was celebrating the induction of two new toys into the Hall of Fame: Alphabet Blocks and Checkers (while Scrabble was one of the twelve finalists this year, it did not make it).

From earlier discussions we had agreed that I would be onsite for Saturday and Sunday to construct a few large parrots (based on my original Parrot). The birds are obviously very colorful, plus identifiable by young kids (most of the children brought to the museum are under ten years old).

In the weeks before the event I had seen at a Toys-R-Us a small display of LEGO animals promoting the latest Make-and-Create sets. Among the creations was a simple little bird created with no more than two dozen pieces. I made note of its construction and decided it would be fun to build some of those as well in Rochester (I think my design is very close to the ones I saw in the store, though the coloring is different).

While the kids (and parents) would obviously be 'wowed' by the large parrots, I wanted some smaller models that the children could find more 'accessible'. So, I found enough pieces among my supply to build 6 of the smaller birds (thanks to whichever LEGO employee first designed the birds for the TRU displays).

I also designed a very simple butterfly out of about 12 pieces to show off. This was the type of item I could build in less than a minute before the eyes of the youngsters.

So, during twelve hours over the course of a weekend, I built a few large birds (one was actually a white cockatoo), and answered questions from the families who came through the museum (well over 3000 people passed through the museum during the event).

The local newspaper (Democrat and Chronicle, right) ran a little blurb advertising the event, and I did a quick spot on the local CBS news station Friday night.

The event at the museum involved many more people besides myself. They had a renowned Etch-a-Sketch artist, Tim George, showing off his talents; there were plenty of exhibits for the kids (including one themed around Alice In Wonderland -- another interest of mine); and, of course, there was the National Toy Hall of Fame exhibit itself (wherein one can see LEGO on display along with Barbie, Monopoly, Tinker Toys, and so on).

All in all it was an enjoyable weekend. I met a few people who knew of my website (and LUGNET reader: George Haberberger), a couple of people who had seen me on Ripley's Believe It or Not!, and I was asked for my autograph once.

Here are a few more pictures:

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