We will realize a bold museum experience built on the depth of our collections and the innovative spirit that courses through our DNA. Through very generous philanthropic support we have been able to imagine and deliver new exhibits in the Cincinnati History Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science, but we still have work to do. Your donations and generous support will help CMC create innovative exhibits that offer new learning opportunities that will inspire guests of all ages and will Champion More Curiosity.
Ancient Worlds Hiding in Plain Sight
Today, life flourishes on the banks of the Ohio River, but 450 million years ago, Cincinnati was at the bottom of a tropical sea teeming with life.
The Ordovician Period will shimmer to life through the strength of Cincinnati Museum Center’s world-renowned Ordovician collection and an immersive new gallery. Whether they’re peering through the first fully-evolved eyes, learning how to become a fossil themselves or investigating the connections between extinct and modern species, guests will become amateur paleontologists in this new gallery.
Your support through the Champion More Curiosity campaign will inspire guests to look in their own backyards for our region’s abundance of fossils.
Biomedical Science Gallery
Every one of us has a body — an intricate molecular machine with remarkable interdependent systems. Most of the time it works so well we may take it for granted. But sooner or later, every one of us will experience injury, disease and aging. There are some basic things we can do to support our bodies’ overall wellness and natural ability to repair and recover. We can also look to innovations in medicine, technology and our community to alleviate suffering and give us hope.
This cutting-edge exhibit will explore the intersection between human biology and pathology; the systems and environments that contribute to health or illness; and medical, technical and social innovations that help people feel better. Using an innovative “person-forward” approach, the new exhibit will feature patient, innovator and healthcare provider stories, as well as fun interactive experiences that illustrate how bodies work and the innovations and interventions we rely on when things break down. The exhibit will also highlight the Greater Cincinnati region’s rich history, present and future in medical research, encouraging guests to consider career pathways in the healthcare, engineering and technology sectors.
In the Community Conversations gallery, Cincinnati Museum Center will shine the light of understanding and dialogue on the more challenging events of our region’s history, including periods of struggle related to race, ethnicity, poverty, religion and even natural disasters. By placing times of challenge in historical context and exploring their causes, contributors and results, CMC hopes to help guests develop empathy for other points of view, spark conversation among and between visiting groups and communicate history’s relevance to the issues we face as a community.
Indigenous Peoples Gallery – featuring our archaeology collections
Cincinnati, as we know it today, was founded in 1788 but humans have long inhabited the region’s riverbanks and hills. For more than 12,000 years, humans have called southwest Ohio home, leaving behind traces of their civilizations that Cincinnati Museum Center’s archaeologists have been working to piece together. The new Indigenous Peoples Gallery unites history and science, using technology, historic research and dogged investigation to explore our region’s earliest inhabitants.
Our Dinosaur Hall was completed through the support of many to excite young minds, spark curiosity and teach basic principles of science, while highlighting Cincinnati Museum Center’s prominent role in paleontological research. Our unique paleontological assets include the Galeamopus and Torvosaurus – incredibly rare specimens only on display right here in Cincinnati.
You Are Here
You Are Here shares 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. Whether you’re born and raised, a transplant or just passing through, Cincinnati leaves its mark. The gallery opened in 2020 to share stories of our region’s history and engage guests in dialogue about our future.
The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation
Is a new permanent exhibit that celebrates the legacy of the historic Apollo 11 mission. The gallery is centered around a 360-degree immersive theater experience, transporting guests to the excitement and trepidation of the summer of 1969. You can dive into space exploration yourself: try your hand at fun quizzes about the space race, learn about the hundreds of scientists and technicians that supported astronauts from Earth and get the point of view of a NASA flight director during a simulated space launch.
Shaping Our City
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 gallery examines is how Cincinnati’s urban design has both connected and divided the city and its people.
After nearly 40 years on Gilbert Avenue and another 25 at Union Terminal, CMC’s reproduction of a limestone cave is back. The Cave is modeled from caves found in the tri-state region, covering two levels and 500 feet of darkened nooks and crannies, twist and turns. The immersive experience includes cascading waterfalls and cave formations such as stalagmites and stalactites. The lower trail sends you shimmying through tight corridors, while the wheelchair-accessible trail offers spectacular overlooks and opportunities for discovery.
Cincinnati in Motion
As one of the best-loved galleries in the Cincinnati History Museum, Cincinnati in Motion, the downtown portion returns as a refreshed and renewed space in Union Terminal. The renovated gallery offers cleaned and repaired historic S-gauge train models, new lighting and sound, more opportunities to interact with historic and updated content, glimpses at the inner mechanics of the models and stronger visual connections to Cincinnati’s skyline just outside Union Terminals’ windows.
Science Interactives Gallery presented by Procter & Gamble
The Science Interactives Gallery is a science playscape powered by you. Whether you’re an amateur scientist or just perpetually curious, you can hoist yourself up with pulleys, watch clouds form, knock down targets with blasts of concentrated air and engage in a spirited game of tug-of-war. Use the Cloud Rings interactive to create clouds that rise to the ceiling. Take on your family, friends or entire class and singlehandedly beat them in a game of tug-of-war with the help of fulcrums and levers. Take a seat and pull yourself 11 feet into the air using a system of pulleys.
Austin E. Knowlton Foundation Science Stage
Mastodons and giant bison – drawn to natural salt deposits – thundered across the plains. Saber-toothed cats and dire wolves prowled the forests. The traces of this interconnected web of predator and prey are beneath our feet in Greater Cincinnati. Our beloved Ice Age Gallery brings it to life.
Made in Cincinnati
Innovation is in our civic DNA and Cincinnati Museum Center is highlighting the manufacturers, tinkerers, makers and industry leaders who power Porkopolis, the Queen of the West and the modern tech hub. From the Industrial Revolution to wartime industry to the tech startup scene, Made in Cincinnati lets guests literally make history.
Among interactive object displays, detailed environments and personal narratives guests can prototype new inventions and assemble iconic pieces of the city’s manufacturing triumphs.
The John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery
John A. Ruthven was a man of curiosity, an advocate for exploration and an American treasure. At the age of 10 he donated his first specimen to Cincinnati Museum Center. He spent the next 86 years of his life bringing thousands of specimens to our collections, building a rich and robust natural catalog by which scientists and historians continue to learn more about our natural world around the globe. We seek to honor John and his beloved wife Judy by ensuring their legacy lives on at Cincinnati Museum Center.