“The Strong’s jigsaw puzzle collection is one of the deepest and most comprehensive in the world,” says Curator Nic Ricketts. “We were fortunate a few years ago to acquire and supplement our holdings with an extensive collection from Anne D. Williams, one of the foremost puzzle experts, and now we are able to draw on those resources to tell the story of this beloved plaything.”
View early wooden puzzles from the 18th and 19th centuries depicting maps of Europe and America, which wealthy families used as teaching tools, including the first commercial jigsaw puzzle created by Englishman John Spilsbury in 1766. See a foot-powered jigsaw and watch a video about professional puzzle-cutters with Parker Pastimes to learn how the individual, intricate pieces were cut. Explore how changing technologies—such as steel-cut dies—made puzzles easier and cheaper to mass produce, leading to a popularity boom in the 1930s. Check out “weekly puzzles” that sold at newsstands across America for as little as 10 cents.
Also, examine the impact of pop culture on puzzle-making and see Pokemon, Spongebob Square Pants, and Star Wars examples (including 3-dimensional and electronic versions). Trace their role as an advertising tool used to help boost sales for everything from motor vehicles to fast food. Then, join in the fun and try your hand at completing an interactive,floor puzzle of the United States—or become a part of puzzle history by posing in front of a giant, digital puzzle.
Cost: General Admission Fees (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): age 2 and older $15, under age 2 free, members free. Fees subject to change.
Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden: General Admission fee plus $4 for members, $5 for nonmembers, under age 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only. Fees subject to change.
Parking: Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis during regular museum hours. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.