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Museums in Greater Cincinnati and Southern Ohio

Updated on July 12, 2011

Cincinnati Ohio and the surrounding Greater Cincinnati area offer a wide variety of museums to visit. Most, if not all, of them have their own web sites. Spend an hour or a day exploring the offerings of these wonderful resources.

The Cincinnati Museum Center, at Cincinnati Union Terminal, includes a Natural History museum, an OmniMax theater, and a tremendous amount of local color. Union Terminal was originally built as a train station. The walls are lined with stunning murals made from tiny ceramic tiles. The murals depict historical periods in the development of Cincinnati, from indigenous Indian settlements all the way to space travel. Some of the murals were transferred to the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky International Airport when the Union Terminal building was renovated many years ago. Those murals reside in the airport concourses and greet travelers as they arrive at the airport.

OmniMax Theater

The OmniMax theater at the Natural History Museum, sponsored by the Robert D. Lindner Family, is a domed theater that soars 5 stories high and seats hundreds of patrons. National attractions such as Dinosaurs Alive! and Journey Into Amazing Caves have played there recently.

The Duke Energy Children's Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center is a great place for the little ones to work off excess energy and accidentally learn something about natural history. Exhibits are designed for little ones to explore, touch, manipulate, and generally play around on.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum is located on the Cincinnati riverfront, just south of downtown. Slaves escaping from the south during the Civil War were given aid and comfort at the Ohio River, which was the final barrier to freedom. So many slaves were successfully transported into Ohio, and the process was so well organized, that the effort was given the informal title "Underground Railroad". Thousands of school-age children visit the museum each year.

A few miles to the east, just up the Ohio River, is another museum dedicated to the history and success of the Underground Railroad. In Ripley, Ohio, the John Rankin Home sits high on the hills overlooking the Ohio River. Reverend Rankin was a well-know abolitionist. The home is a National Historic Landmark and is staffed by dedicated interpreters who can explain the signaling process that was used to guide escaping slaves across the river.

Cincinnati Art Museum

Back in Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Art Museum has permanent collections of paintings, textiles, photographs, sculptures and costumes from many far-flung parts of the world. As always, admission to the museum is free. An entire wing is dedicated to the art and artists of Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Fire Museum is also on the National Register. Over 200 years of firefighting equipment and artifacts are on display. The museum is located in downtown Cincinnati.

Sports fans should not feel left out. The Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame and Museum is an integral part of any visit to the Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds. Admission is very reasonable and a season pass, referred to as a Hall of Fame Membership, is also available. The museum is actually built into the stadium and can be reached after a short walk from the downtown area. The museum offers audio tours and special exhibits throughout the baseball season.


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