The establishment of a museum is a natural outgrowth of academic research about games and game playing behaviors. Games reflect the cultures in which they are developed and played, and illustrate the cultural diffusion and interaction of people throughout human history. In addition to understanding the role and function of games in the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies, research concerning games is conducted in such disciplines as Anthropology, History, Psychology, Mathematics, Systems Engineering, Military Science, Languages and Literature, Rehabilitation Medicine, and more.
When established in 1971, by the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, the Museum and Archive of Games was primarily intended as a source for research and teaching. Concerns about care of the collection began to surface with growing use by faculty and students. In addition, request began to be made to enable the public to view the collection. As a consequence, the University sought the assistance of the Province of Ontario's ministry concerned with museums and heritage collections. Within a few months, using guidelines and consultation provided by ministry personnel, a series of policies and procedures were put in place which established the collection within the context of a professional museum. Later, further assistance was received from the National Museums of Canada.
The Museum maintained a collection of over five thousand objects and archival documents associated with games, and the collection continued to grow. The Museum was governed and administered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, under the guidance of appointed citizens who serve on the Museum's Community Advisory Board. The Museum was operated by Faculty and Graduate Students from the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Operations were partially supported by the Ontario Ministry of Recreation, Culture, and Tourism. The national Department of Canadian Heritage had periodically made grants to the Museum for special purposes. Donations from industry and private citizens were used to enhance the collection and operations. In the year 2000, the Museum was renamed in honor of its founder and first curator who retired in 1995. It is now known as The Elliott Avedon Museum and Archive of Games.
In the ensuing decade, a change in academic focus within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, and particularly within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies fostered a "re-thinking" of the place of the Museum in this academic environment. With growing Departmental faculty retirements, and the lack of a specific academic interest upon the part of current faculty members, in 2009 the decision was made to close the Museum and transfer the collection elsewhere.
Last update June 28, 2010