Strong Museum Goes Out of this World

The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York is set to open two new exhibits in June – “Rockets, Robots, and Ray Guns” and “The Force at Play” – on June 11. The exhibit will be on display through September 5.


For generations little boys…and girls…have been playing games of heroes, villains, cowboys, Indians, and aliens.

The new exhibits coming to The Strong Museum focuses on some of that play and how science-fiction has influenced that play via hands on activities.

Visitors to The Strong can play video games like Galaxian, Galaga, and Primal Rage – games require tokens, the funds raised from the sale of the tokens goes to help maintain the games. There is even a giant version of the original video space game “Space Invaders”.

Visitors will be able to use their imaginations and create their own aliens on light tables and even listen to H.G. Wells 1938 broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”.

“Flash Gordon”, “Buck Rogers”, “Star Trek”, and even “Star Wars” have sparked the imaginations of millions about what the future might hold. The exhibit also includes apocalyptic games, George Orwell’s book “1984” and a figure of Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games”.

Space is more than the final frontier, it is a fertile ground for the imagination. The new exhibit offers space hounds some play sets to envision those imaginations. The space games even include the cockpit version of Sega’s “Star Trek” game.

And since no space age adventure can be complete without a ray gun of some description; the new exhibit will include toy versions of various ray guns including the oldest of these toys ever created.

Like ray guns and alien creatures, no space age story is complete without a robot. Big Loo – a robot from 1963, the Japanese influence of robots, and the Isaac Asimov book that introduced the Laws of Robotics, “I Robot” are all a part of the exhibit. Visitors can even create their own robot from a variety of materials.

Big Loo

And what space adventure is complete without a rocket? Along with a 3D puzzle of a rocket launch, Cold War era rockets, and games to test one’s skill as a pilot; visitors can learn about the science of rockets and explore some of the most famous spaceships in science-fiction including the original Enterprise.

No space adventure can take place without the characters of the story. Explore some space heroes with a sliding puzzle, costumes, toys, games, and action figures.


Doc Brown had a Delorian to travel through time, visitors to The Strong can also step into a time machine and view clips of time travel movies.

In 1978 one film captured the interest of science-fiction fans like no other…and that fascination continues to this day. In the Force of Play, The Strong offers a look into the impact that “Star Wars” has had on play. The Force at Play also opens June 11. The Force of Play will be on exhibit until September 5.

force at play logo

The exhibit explores the evolution of “Star Wars” with a number of artifacts including 12 original action figures, a movie poster from the original movie, early advertising, a diorama of a battle, and toys inspired by the Star Wars franchise including Darth Tater. “Star Wars” related video games will also be available for play. The exhibit will also include costumes and toys related to “Star Wars”. Giant X-Wing and Tie Fighter models will also be on display throughout the exhibit.

Star Wars Action Figures

“Rockets, Robots, and Ray Guns” and “The Force of Play” are produced by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at The Strong and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

As a part of the grand opening for the new exhibits on June 11, The Strong will have live characters and costumes for visitors to dress up as an alien. There will also be science-fiction inspired crafts on hand including a popsicle stick puppet.

Bring a camera and take photographs with members of the 501st Legion, Klingons, Deanna Troi, Missy from “Doctor Who”, aliens, and a Martian.

In conjunction with the new exhibit, The Strong is holding a contest inviting builders to create their own ship or robot and upload it to The Strong’s Facebook page. July 5-22 for rockets ship builders and August 8-26 for robot builders. Original creations only will be accepted.

Complete rules for the contest can be found at

Winners will earn a $25 gift card for the museum shop.


All photos are courtesy of The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York

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