Originally known as the Cincinnati Union Terminal, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a unique, multi-museum complex housed in the historic Art Deco train station of Union Terminal in Cincinnati’s neighborhood of Queensgate. After the decline of the railroad industry and rail travel in general, the once-bustling building was converted into a center that now houses museums, theaters, and a library, as well as special traveling exhibitions.

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Committed to understanding the richness of the past, present and future by presenting world-class learning experiences for all ages of the visitor, the mission of the Cincinnati Museum Center is to inspire the community to engage in the world of science through educational, and meaningful experiences.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is home to the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, and the Robert D. Lindner Family Omnimax® Theater. The Center features a collection of over 1.8 million artworks, artifacts, and archives, as well as a range of permanent and temporary exhibits, and state-of-the-art collections and research facility known as the Geier Collections & Research Center. Additional services and amenities offered at the Center include professional development programs for educators and educational programs for learners, public lectures and programs, day and overnight camps, tours of various historical sites and community-wide cultural events.

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2.Cincinnati Union Terminal

Cincinnati Union Terminal  

One of the last grand train stations built, the Cincinnati Union Terminal is one of the most widely regarded examples of the Art Deco style and an icon of the city. Designed by principal architects Alfred Fellheimer and Steward Wagner with Paul Philippe Cret being the mastermind behind the building’s magnificent Art Deco style, the Rotunda is the largest semi-dome in the western hemisphere. The interior of the center features Winold Reiss mosaics, a Rookwood-tiled ice cream parlor, and magical whispering fountains with spectacular views of downtown Cincinnati.

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3.Exhibits and Special Events

Exhibits and Special Events  

Exhibitions and special events at the Center include ‘Order Out of Chaos’, which explores the various effects used between 1880 and the 1920s to make the then undesirable Union Terminal more attractive to the public. ‘Temple to Transportation’ delves into the fascinating history of Union Terminal during its years as a passenger rail station and takes a deeper look at why the Terminal was widely regarded as an architectural marvel. ‘Reinvention’ highlights some of the proposed alternatives that were considered to preserve and reuse the original Union Terminal, and the ‘Gateway to the City’ visits the massive efforts made to save this magnificent structure for current and future generations. ‘The Glass Storybook and the Great Menagerie’ showcases the work of two great artists, Winold Reiss and Pierre Bourdelle, and the work they created at the Union Terminal.

The Duke Energy Children’s Museum

The Duke Energy Children’s Museum features eight educational and themed play areas, including two specifically designed for preschool-aged and younger that provide interactive and hands-on fun for children of all ages. The Museum is home to a range of immersive and fun-filled educational exhibits and displays, including Energy Zone, Kid’s Town, The Woods, and Little Sprouts Farm, as well as over 1,800 hours of programming each year.

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4.The Cincinnati History Museum

The Cincinnati History Museum  

The Cincinnati History Museum offers visitors the opportunity to take a journey back in time and experience the history of the city. Innovative and interpretive exhibits include Cincinnati In Motion, Cincinnati Goes to War, From Settlement to 1860, and Forming a New World, with costumed interpreters offering interesting information along the way.

Museum of Natural History & Science

The Museum of Natural History & Science explores the world of science, history, and nature through immersive and interactive exhibits, inspiring presentations and unusual artifacts. Identify the treasures found in the backyard in ‘Nature’s Trading Post,’ use creative thinking and problem-solving in hands-on experiments in the STEM Discovery Lab, and practice spelunking in a limestone cave, watch Big Brown Bats fly, and experience the Ice Age by walking through a glacier.

Cincinnati History Library and Archives

Established in 1831, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives is dedicated to collecting and preserving materials relating to Cincinnati, the state of Ohio and the Old Northwest Territory. The library is home to one of the most significant regional history collections in the country, which includes books, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, maps and films.

Printed Works Collection

The Library’s Printed Works Collection features books, newspapers, magazines, brochures, maps relating to Greater Cincinnati, the state of Ohio and the Old Northwest, including family histories, town and county records, and a collection of botanical books.

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5.The Manuscript Department

The Manuscript Department  

The Manuscript Department collects, preserves, and organizes descriptions of personal papers and documents relating to the history of the Greater Cincinnati area dating back to the early settlement of Cincinnati. The collection includes speeches, diaries, scrapbooks, financial records, and original correspondence.

The Department of Photographs and Films

The Department of Photographs and Films features a range of material that documents the economic, political, cultural, and educational development of the Greater Cincinnati area and includes nearly a million archival photographs, videos, prints, films, and sound recordings.

The Preservation Department

The Preservation Department is the center of preservation programming for Cincinnati History Library and Archives where all its materials are repaired and treated, as well as managing environmental monitoring among other services.

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6.Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit  

The Cincinnati Museum Center is located at 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati and is open from Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Free parking is available on site, and the Museum is wheelchair accessible.

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1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45203, Phone: 513-287-7000

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Things to Do in Ohio: Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal