The Strong Museum of Play is announcing a $1.5 million financial commitment from ESL Federal Credit Union for the museum’s expansion plans.
That gives ESL the naming rights to “Digital Worlds,” a 24,000 square foot gallery focusing on electronic games.
The overall 90,000 square foot expansion is part of the larger “Neighborhood of Play” project.
Strong President and CEO Steve Dubnik says Digital Worlds will house exhibits exploring the history of video games and new technologies, will be the new home for the Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame, and it will also showcase underrepresented groups in the video game world.
``Women in games, people of color in games, and people of the LGBTQ community in terms of their games. We have collections that represent all of these different groups and we’ll have them on display and talk about the importance of the people behind them,” Dubnik said.
Dubnik says the project is moving forward after the pandemic delayed the expansion by about a year.
``Obviously we had to reevaluate those plans, and decided not to proceed at that time. Now, that the museum reopened in June, we’ve been able to bring guests in and to have them be here safely and enjoy the experience. We’re at stage we can move forward. It really delayed us about a year,” he said.
He says the overall Neighborhood of Play concept, expected to eventually draw 400,000 visitors a year to the museum, could be a major driver of tourism dollars in the Rochester area.