• Sun. Mar 26th, 2023

Cincinnati History Museum recognized among five best in the country

Children’s Museum also named in top ten nationwide in USA TODAY vote

By Cody Hefner


Two of Cincinnati Museum Center’s (CMC) museums have been recognized among the ten best in the country. Following a four-week nationwide vote, the Cincinnati History Museum was named in the top five in the Best History Museum category, while the Children’s Museum finished among the top ten. Each museum was among 20 finalists from across the country in USA TODAY’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards. 

“We’re honored to be recognized by our community and voters from across the nation as one of the country’s best museums,” said Elizabeth Piece, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “The excellence of our individual museums really drives home the value and impact of our unique multi-museum complex. We’re taking this moment to celebrate the impact of our staff and volunteers who have developed and delivered those experiences and we invite everyone to come make their own memories here.”

The Cincinnati History Museum traces its roots to the Cincinnati Historical Society in 1831. It’s among the nation’s premier regional history museums, showcasing incredible historic artifacts alongside interactive experiences that transport guests to the city’s earliest days. The Cincinnati History Museum features five exhibits that invite guests to tower over a scale model reproduction of historic Cincinnati, walk the cobblestone streets of the mid-19th century riverfront, meet the innovators and entrepreneurs who powered Porkopolis and the Queen of the West, discover what has come to define the city as Cincinnati and explore the ways the city has shaped and been shaped by the land around it.   Together, the exhibits take guests through more than 250 years of Cincinnati history, with additional galleries in development. 

“History isn’t just about the past or some event frozen in time, it’s dynamic and informs who and where we are today,” said Pierce. “We’ve designed a history museum lets us travel to the past while finding its place in the present, being both immersive and introspective in a way that is both wildly enjoyable and powerfully informative.”

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, also located in Cincinnati, took home the vote’s top spot as the nation’s Best History Museum.

“We share in the Freedom Center’s excitement in this moment. At this and every moment in our history, the stories the Freedom Center shares are incredibly important,” said Pierce, who also serves as the CEO of the Freedom Center. “It’s an honor for our city to claim two of the nation’s top five history museums.” 

Children’s Museum secures a top-10 finish

]The Children’s Museum opened in 1998 and is now helping its second generation learn through play. The museum turns unbound energy into unbridled curiosity as kids, and adults, splash, climb and play through 11 themed areas. Among the most popular areas is The Woods, where kids can explore two levels of a forest, climbing into the treetops, crawling through logs and peering inside an aquarium filled with local aquatic wildlife. With flowing streams, locks, geysers and jets, the power and properties of water spring to life in Water Works. Cause-and-effect and simple machines come to life as a blizzard of plastic balls cascade and float in the Energy Zone. Kids also learn about healthy food choices, sorting and job responsibilities in a mini Kroger grocery and about proper oral health in a positive, inviting way by stepping Inside the Grin, a massive anatomically-accurate recreation of a mouth. 

“It’s so important to instill a love of learning from an early age, which is why we’ve designed our Children’s Museum to not only be accessible to kids of every age and ability, but of every interest,” added Pierce. “As they play, they are learning about physics, biology, hygiene and engineering and, importantly, the value of being curious and trying new things.”

CMC is a multi-award winning, nationally-accredited museum recognized by the American Alliance of Museums for its excellence in the museum field. It opened in its current home at Union Terminal in 1990 with the Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater. The Children’s Museum opened as part of CMC in 1998.

Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized, award-winning institution housed in a National Historic Landmark. CMC is a vital community resource that sparks curiosity, inspiration, epiphany and dialogue. CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012, one of a select few museums in the nation to receive both honors. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Children’s Museum, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, Cincinnati History Library and Archives and the Geier Collections and Research Center. Housed in historic Union Terminal – a National Historic Landmark restored in 2018 and recognized as the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects – CMC welcomes more than 1.8 million visits annually, making it one of the most visited museums in the country. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org.  

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