The Strong National Museum’s 90,000-square-foot-expansion is the final part of a larger, $75-million museum project that included a whimsical 1,000 car parking garage and sits at the center of the all-new Neighborhood of Play. The expansion features more than 24,000-square-feet of exhibit space dedicated to the celebration of electronic games and an additional 17,000-square-feet of outdoor exhibit space exploring the influence of board games.
The expansion includes a new welcome atrium, with an OLED butterfly canopy, and gift shop on the first floor. A new connection building — the Portal of Play — acts as a gateway to the existing parking garage and expanded space.
Just at the top of the second floor sits the world’s largest, playable Donkey Kong arcade game which is nearly 20 feet tall. The second-floor features the immersive ESL Digital Worlds, which offers guests two progressive, video game-centric areas. In Level Up, they can create their own personalized avatars and embark on challenging and puzzle-solving quests. In High Score, guests will learn about the business and art of the video game industry and discover the incredible stories behind the World Video Game Hall of Fame and Women in Games exhibit. Outside, the expansion also added two public plazas—Riedman Commons and Riedman Plaza.
The Strong anticipates that annual museum attendance will grow to nearly one million by 2026 with the expansion, up from a previous high of 600,000 pre-pandemic. With the new space, The Strong is one of the largest history museums in the United States. Rochester’s Neighborhood of Play—developed in collaboration with Konar Properties and Indus Hospitality Group—also features residential and retail spaces, including a video-game themed restaurant, as well as a new, family-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites located adjacent to the museum.