Is to support and enhance our community through the unique properties of games,
and to preserve and provide access to those games for everyone.
Why are games and
Playing games is older than writing. Humans have been playing games for thousands of years, and games are an important piece of human culture both historically and today!
Games connect: they lower the barriers to social interaction and produce common ground through a shared set of rules, as well as build trust and communication skills.
Role-playing games, specifically, are a highly effective tool to teach empathy by encouraging players to identify and relate to individuals different from themselves. Teaching empathy reduces bullying and boosts relationship satisfaction. Sportsmanship and competition, important social functions of games, teaches players to consider fairness, to respect others, to cope with loss, and to confront insecurities when facing challenges. Learning and practicing these skills strengthens relationships, which over time can reduce loneliness and depression.
Games educate: they enhance learning, develop and retain cognitive skills and facilitate interaction between players of different skill levels.
Players with less developed skills can make guesses based on common sense and intuition, while players with a higher skill set can rely on more complex strategies. Studies routinely support how games improve early childhood development, reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and are an effective tool used in education. Like educational curricula, games provide clear rules for success, challenges and rewards, but in a playful context.
Games inspire: they encourage exploration, self-expression and creativity; they convey ideas, share innovations, offer choices and present consequences.
Within the mechanics of games, we can safely test, explore and experiment with our ideas in uniquely personal ways. The playful context of games nurtures a sense of trust by freeing us from catastrophic consequences while still showing us the outcomes. As players, we can project ourselves into scenarios, creating a relatable connection between us and the concepts in each game. Thus, games can convey complex concepts about people, environments and societal issues in ways that inspire us to consider real problems with new eyes.
Games entertain: they’re fun!
Why is IMOGAP special?
We provide affordable access to our resources for all.
No one is refused admittance due to an inability to pay. (Applied at manager’s
All-day-play for $5; discounts for families, young children, seniors and large groups.
After admittance, no other purchases are necessary.
Access to our play space.
Communities need informal gathering spaces away from work and home. As the only board game museum in the United States, IMOGAP is a community space that promotes play.
Access to our extensive collection. Unlike most other museums, IMOGAP is hands-on. Only a few historical or fragile games require special arrangements to access. (See the Collection page for an updated tally and breakdown of our holdings.) IMOGAP offers games from different eras and from around the world. We continuously bring in new games, providing access to specialty games not otherwise available to the average gamer due to small production runs, exclusive content or higher prices.
We bring our community together.
Discounted group admission makes for an inexpensive outing and entertainment.
Families make up 60% of the museum’s visitors.
We’ve had visitors from 38 states and over a dozen foreign countries!
Family game nights!
We recognize that sharing time together strengthens family bonds by building trust, practices positive communication, and makes happy memories. The scheduled activity of “disconnecting to reconnect” encourages families to take a break from our solitary experiences with digital devices, to instead spend time face-to-face, talking to each other, playing and enjoying each other’s company. Discounted admission makes for an inexpensive outing and families make up 60% of the museum’s visitors.
Training new experts.
The museum helps fill the need of training new game developers with workshops that survey existing games and design principles from our extensive collection, provide instruction and materials for the game design process, and give new designers a platform for exploring ideas, playtesting mechanics, and networking with already published developers.
IMOGAP encourages hobbyists to share their love of games. Volunteer opportunities are open to help maintain the collection, play with others, and organize special play days. Many local school districts require their students to complete community service hours. IMOGAP provides opportunities to these students and other young adults with various temperaments, interests and skill levels to work with our collections, interface with the community and/or maintain the community space.
IMOGAP is proud to support other local enterprises as we work together to form a more wholesome community. See the Get Involved page for a full list of our previous Community Partnerships.
We share our experience and knowledge with everyone.
As an authoritative resource on the history of games and game-crafting, IMOGAP is regularly invited to present in local events and expos. Some of these events include featuring Native American games in the anthropological living museum at the Oregon Country Fair; presenting a “Five Games Over Five Millennia” panel at Emerald City Comic Con; and exhibiting at the Penny Arcade Expo.