The Strong National Museum of Play breaks ground on expansion

The Strong National Museum of Play breaks ground on expansion. The Rochester New York museum expansion is part of a larger project, The Neighbourhood of Play, which includes housing, a hotel and mixed retail.

The Strong National Museum of Play has broken ground on its major expansion and car park. It has also launched a $60 million capital campaign, named Powered by Play.

While the museum has already raised enough funds for the first phase of the project, it requires further funding for the next stage.

The 100,000-square-foot expansion is set to be completed by the summer of 2020. It is planned as the centrepiece of an urban development called The Neighbourhood of Play – a green and pleasant place to live, work, and play.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build something that will be transformational for our members, our guests, and our region,” said Steve Dubnik, president and CEO of the museum. “Through this project, we will extend our international reach and contribute to a modern-day renaissance for the region.”

The museum expansion, as well as the Neighbourhood of Play, has been designed by CJS Architects and managed by LeChase Construction Services. Plans show a new atrium, flexible space for school programmes; an exciting ropes course and interactive outdoor play garden, and a café.

eSports will also feature – the World Video Game Hall of Fame will gain a new home and the museum’s Women in Games initiative will include an immersive video game experience and exhibitions about the women in the video game industry.

Expanded storage is also included in the plans and the car park will offer over 1,000 spaces.

The museum currently attracts around 550,000 visitors per year. It is the only collections-based museum in the whole world dedicated to the history and exploration of play.

Market research showed that, with expanded facilities and a broader marketing campaign in nearly cities, it could easily bring in a further 400,000.

“The Strong is already one of the top attractions in the United States and the ultimate destination for play,” said Dubnik. “This expansion will increase our capacity to carry out our play-based mission and increase our attendance to nearly one million guests per year—providing an economic boost for our community.”

Increased economic impact for the area

So far the museum has raised nearly half the required funds for the project via individual, foundation, government, and corporate support. Powered by Play will, hopefully, raise the remaining $60 million necessary. The museum is calling for both national and local support.

“While this is a national campaign in scope, it’s also a community-wide endeavour,” said Laura Saxby Lynch, chair of The Strong’s Board of Trustees. “The support and advocacy of our community is vital to our success and our ability to welcome many more guests to The Strong.”

The Neighbourhood of Play will include a 120-150 room hotel, 201 units of market-rent housing and 17,000 square feet of urban-mix retail which will be funded and operated by partners Indus Hospitality and Konar Properties. These are set to generate more than $130 million in annual economic impact for Rochester.

Images: The Strong Museum