Issues in PlayPast, Present, and Future
This area, with its banner message, "Shape your thinking through
play," encourages visitors to reflect upon questions and debates
in the history and future of play.
Experimental playthings from the Lifelong Kindergarten
program at MIT's Media Lab demonstrate how microprocessors equipped
with sensors and tiny motors can be used with traditional craft
materials in new kinds of play. Examples of these playful inventions
are featured in the exhibition. They also form the basis for gallery
demonstrations for which staff training will be provided.
A collage of historic and current toys and games,
including many artifacts from the collections of the National
Museum of American History, resonate with visitors' recollections
about play. Questions in this area include: "Have you ever played
with toys and games like those in the nearby cases and drawers?"
and "Do you see a link between how you played as a child and what
you do now?" Responses from inventors and innovators gleaned from
Lemelson Center interviews and other sources are displayed next
to their favorite playthings. Visitors can also leave their own
answers to this question in a comment book, or draw designs for
a toy that they would like to invent.
Two videos invite visitors to listen to educators, child
development specialists, historians, inventors, and children themselves
reflect on some of the current questions and debates about the
present and future of play.