CINCINNATI, Oh. — The Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is continuing to improve its museum experience with the addition and expansion of three galleries in its Cincinnati History Museum this spring. The additions are part of CMC’s ongoing rollout of a dynamic new CMC.
Cincinnati in Motion expands March 20
One of the Cincinnati History Museum’s most beloved exhibits is back on the tracks with new energy and interpretation. Cincinnati in Motion, CMC’s S-scale model of the city, recreates the downtown in the 1940s, complete with Carew Tower, City Hall, Plum Street Temple, the Roebling Bridge and streetcars rattling through the streets. Additions to the display feature Cincinnati neighborhoods during different decades, including the West End in the 1930s, Mt Adams in the 1920s, Spring Grover/Ivorydale in the 1910s and Over-the-Rhine/Mt. Auburn in the 1900s. Guests will love new interactive opportunities to navigate through the model with a train’s-eye view, hear and smell details from well-known locations, and even see replacement pieces for the model being 3D printed.
In addition to the new experience in Cincinnati in Motion, guests can return to their favorite prominent landmarks, such as Union Terminal, Music Hall, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the city’s inclines. In total, the 4,000-square-foot display features more than 1,200 buildings, 18 running locomotives, four operational inclines, over 500 vehicles and 2,000 people. Details including fire hydrants, dogs, carts, horses and street lamps help bring the layout to life. A lighting cycle transitions the city from day to night throughout the day.
Shaping Our City opens March 20
Shaping Our City begins with a birch-bark canoe of the style used by Indigenous Peoples navigating the Ohio, Little Miami and Licking rivers from 1700-1810. Additional artifacts highlight the importance of rivers as early trade and transportation routes, leading to both Native American and white settlement of the region. Train and steam boat models, train whistles and sensory stations bring the era of early steam travel to life. The period from 1860 to 1920 saw residents expand out of the river basin, climbing the surrounding hills with inclines and streetcars. CMC’s orange streetcar punctuates this hub, inviting guests to ride along as video and audio recreate three different Cincinnati streetcar trips in the 1910s, 30s and 40s.Adjacent to Cincinnati in Motion, Shaping Our City explores how rivers, rails and roads have shaped and defined our region over the centuries. Transportation has spurred and been spurred by innovation, which Shaping Our City showcases through a selection of vehicles, maps, objects and interactive elements. As much as transportation has provided access, it has also impaired access. One of the questions the new gallery examines is how Cincinnati’s urban design has both connected and divided the city and its people.
Shaping Our City also charts the city’s efforts to centralize transit in the first half of the 20th century, including the building of Union Terminal. A vintage Crosley Super Station Wagon and photos from CMC’s Kenyon Barr collection tell the story of how car culture has changed the landscape of our city and its neighborhoods, most notably through the construction of highway I-75.
As transportation continues to change, this exhibition challenges guests to anticipate how autonomous vehicles, scooters, bike shares, ride shares and other choices we’re making today will continue to shape our city.
You Are Here opens April 17
Opening on the lower level of the Cincinnati History Museum on April 17, You Are Here will share stories of Cincinnati’s history – its people, places, traditions and struggles – that spark curiosity about how life in the city was, is and can be. The gallery is centered around three themes: Living Here, Working Here and Playing Here.
People from diverse backgrounds have made Cincinnati their home. Living Here examines how they made – and continue to make – the city what it is today. Objects and displays highlight Cincinnati’s rich neighborhood traditions and identities, including schools, faiths and home life. A compilation of home videos and photographs drawn from CMC’s collections and public submissions show a snapshot of daily life. The Cincinnati Counts interactive invites guests to weigh in on various questions and compare their answers to others’, while another display shares quotes from famous residents past and present.
Cincinnati has also long been a destination for job seekers, entrepreneurs and residents working to pay the bills. The Working Here section explores the way jobs, work and volunteering contribute to personal identity and the city’s character. A timeclock interactive includes timecards with questions or statements that challenge guests to picture themselves as a worker in the Cincinnati of yesterday – “You’re a woman in the 1920s. Where can you find work?” or “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!” Among the industries featured is our city’s unique food industry, with objects paying homage to our chili, goetta, beer and the people who make them. The way communications have changed over the decades will also be included in this section, with a range of phonographs, typewriters, fax machines, flip phones and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn some history interactively, as they become newscasters for prominent stories from the past.
The Playing Here section of You Are Here honors what Cincinnatians have long known: having fun together is a hallmark of our city. Among our city’s long sports history, the Reds, Bengals, Royals, FC Cincinnati and boxer Ezzard Charles are all featured with memorabilia, stadium seats and ticket stubs. A flipbook interactive shares the stories of Cincinnati’s many parades and festivals including Oktoberfest, the May Festival and Opening Day Parade, and a fragrance interactive reminds guests what their favorite treat at the ballpark or a visit to the zoo smells like. A mural studio interactive lets guests create and feature themselves in their own piece of public art, akin to the ArtWorks murals and BLINK displays.
CMC continues to improve its museum experience and has further gallery openings and exhibit expansions planned throughout 2020. Building on its highest-attended year ever with 1.8 million visits, CMC unites science, history and play to offer unique, multi-disciplinary experiences as only CMC can.