This blog post is part of a new series on the Carrousel Courier called Remember When. These posts are written by our staff, volunteers, and fans on memories of carousels and amusement. See how these memories have influenced us to this day. Interested in sharing a fond memory of your own? Leave a comment or email Ian K. Seppala at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Ian K. Seppala
The Strong National Museum of Play is one of the premier children's museums in the United States. It is also very important in the Seppala family. It is the first museum visit I can remember, and part of the reason I am a museum professional today. My family and I would meet my cousins (usually Hannah, sometimes Molly or Meaghan) at the museum often, and the whole day would culminate with a ride on the Elaine Wilson Carousel.
Why yes the most important carousel of my childhood happens to be an Allan Herschell. I did not realize the amazing history of the ride until I was much older but still, the carousel was a highlight for our visits.
When we arrived at the museum we would split into two groups. My aunt and mum would take the younger ones to go shopping in the model Wegmans and mail letters at the children's Post Office. They would always go visit Sesame Street as well. Sometimes we would join them. Most of the time Alec and I would head to the second floor, containing the National Toy Hall of Fame. Up there they had vintage video games free to play, and we would spend hours there with games like Pac-man and pong. We would stay up there laughing until our mum came and got us. It was time.
We rode the carousel together as a big group. It was the entertainment we could all enjoy together, regardless of age. My youngest brother enjoyed being one of us, all three having fun entertained by the bright lights and loud sounds. With a large age difference (10 years) there were few rides we would all enjoy together. Looking back, this is even more important to me now than it was back then.
Carrying on the legacy, my cousin Meaghan takes her children to the museum often. They love the carousel and ride it regularly. This photo is the next generation of the Seppala family, enjoying the Elaine Wilson Carousel At Strong National Museum of Play, 2018. She is riding her favorite horse, she has nicknamed "Dale the Purple Pony"
Ian K. Seppala is the Education Director of the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. He enjoys educating the public in local history and how history and science combine. He is also an avid sports fan and outdoorsman.
Do you have memories of Strong National Museum of Play? Share them in the comments below!