The Road Explorer - Spring 2018 - 17
In the meantime, The Strong's current exhibits will
continue to attract visitors of every age and interest. "There's
such a variety of activities; there's something for everyone,"
said Rhinewald. "We're happy to be able to offer this
experience to people. Anyone who comes here is surprised and
really blown away by the size and scope of this museum."
Shane Rhinewald, Senior Director of
Public Relations and Karen Dobson,
Tourism Sales Associate
The Strong National Museum of Play
The Strong attracts about 550,000 guests each year,
with approximately 15,000 coming from Canada. Tour
groups are always welcome. The museum offers tiered group
pricing, complimentary admission for the driver and the
escort, and free parking.
Although The Strong already offers many more exhibits
than visitors can see in a single day, it will soon be getting
even larger. Later this year the museum will break ground on
a unique 100,000 square-foot expansion that will house the
World Video Game Hall of Fame.
"We currently have the world's largest collection of
video games and objects. We recognize that video games
have changed the way people have played in the last
30 years," said Rhinewald. "With our collection and with
our experts, we are uniquely positioned to really own that
space, to be the premiere destination for people to learn
about the history of video games. The idea is that it will be
an immersive game experience; as soon as you walk in the
building, you will be part of the game. You will be a character
on a quest or you will be moving around the puzzle pieces as if
you're in a game like Tetris." The museum hopes to open the
addition by 2020.
The Road Explorer: How do you market The Strong?
Shane Rhinewald: Our largest focus is the regional market,
which also spills into southern Ontario. We use a blend of
digital marketing - web ads, banner ads, sponsored posts
on social media - as well as traditional methods, including
advertisements in newspapers like the Toronto Star. We
also place print ads in several of the travel trade and motor
We do run TV ads regionally, from Rochester up to Buffalo,
and radio advertising as well. Some of our work in the Buffalo
market crosses over into southern Ontario.
Another big factor is public relations. We talk to
publications and to radio programs in all these different
markets to let them know all of the exciting things that we
have happening here, both for independent travellers and for
motor coach and group tour travelers.
How do you use social media?
We have a full social media strategy: Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and a little bit on Pinterest. We also have some
blogs written by the museum curators and experts that focus
on artifacts in the collection. For example, the video games
blog might talk about anything from preservation efforts to
trends that are coming up in the industry in the next year.
Some of the blogs really dive into what's happening in the
industry and how that might shape how a museum goes about
preserving those objects.
How does The Strong cater to motor coach groups?
Karen Dobson: We offer several different programs,
depending on how much time the group has to spend
and what interests they have. They range from general
admission programs, where visitors can explore the
museum on their own, to a white-glove curated tour
that takes guests underground to see many of the items
that the museum has in storage. For those programs, our
curators can focus on whatever the group would like to
hear about. If they're interested in dolls, a curator who
specializes in dolls can come in and talk with them. If
they're interested in video games, we can have a video
game curator give a presentation.
One of our most popular offerings is the 45-minute guided
tour that includes the 12 iconic artifacts that we think every
visitor should see, plus free time for them to explore other
parts of the museum on their own.
Read The Road Explorer online at www.naylornetwork.com/omc-nxt