Cincinnati Museum Center celebrates 25 years

. November 6, 2015

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As a special surprise gift and thank you to the community for a quarter-century of support, the Museum Center is pleased to host free admission to our three museums November 6 – 8.

Cincinnati Museum Center  25 yearsIn the late 1980s, a group of individuals asked the city of Cincinnati and the citizens of Hamilton County to take a leap of faith and to believe that a multi-museum complex would not only succeed but become a vital part of the region’s culture and economy. The Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and the Cincinnati Historical Society were each looking for a new home and the iconic Union Terminal was available for consideration. Even with heavy support for housing a museum complex inside the historic train station, the initial levy to fund the necessary conversions for Union Terminal narrowly passed with 51% of the vote in May 1986.

Over 20,000 people celebrated the opening of Cincinnati Museum Center on November 10, 1990 by viewing some initial exhibits in the Museum of Natural History & Science, historic vehicles parked in portions of the unfinished Cincinnati History Museum, the debut of Blue Planet in the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Dinamation, an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs in the special exhibition gallery. In 1991, several new signature permanent exhibits were opened in each museum, including: the Cave and Ice Age Trail in the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati Goes to War and the Public Landing in the Cincinnati History Museum.

In the years since the initial opening, Cincinnati Museum Center added the Duke Energy Children’s Museum (1998), many of the Museum Center’s science and history collections were provided a new home in the 70,000 square foot Geier Collections & Research Center (2001), the special exhibitions galleries were expanded (2003) and the Eulett Center for education and research was added to the 16,000 acre Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve (2008).

The special exhibits galleries have hosted the Papal Tiara of Pope Pius IX, Princess Diana’s wedding dress and over 200 artifacts recovered from the depths of the Titanic. Cincinnati Museum Center hosted Saint Peter and the Vatican: Treasures of the Popes in 2003, a collection of artwork and artifacts spanning 2,000 years of church leadership, many of which were on display outside the Vatican for the first time. In 2008, the Museum Center set attendance records during the run of BODIES…The Exhibition, drawing over 300,000 visitors during its seven month run. Cincinnati Museum Center also had the rare honor to display the Ten Commandments Scroll for 18 days in 2012 as part of the exhibit Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times, the longest the Israel Antiquities Authority has allowed the Commandments to be outside Israel to date. Diana, A Celebration, an exhibit dedicated to the life and philanthropy of Princess Diana, made the final stop of its world tour at Cincinnati Museum Center in 2014.

In 2009, the Institute for Museum and Library Service recognized Cincinnati Museum Center with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. It was then accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2012, making Cincinnati Museum Center one of a select few institutions in the nation to receive both honors.

Cincinnati Museum Center has come a long way in 25 years. In 2014, Cincinnati Museum Center accounted for 1,278 local jobs and had an economic impact of $114 million. The real value, though, is in the people the Museum Center has touched over a quarter-century. Annual attendance tops more than one million visitors from all over the world as Union Terminal now serves not only as a gateway to Cincinnati, but to science, history and curiosity.

“Cincinnati Museum Center was initially just an idea, but one that the people of Cincinnati and Hamilton County believed in,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “The community took a leap of faith, and now 25 years later, we have a cherished and vibrant asset that delights and inspires.”

As Cincinnati Museum Center enters its second quarter-century, it does so with a highly-anticipated repair and restoration project on the horizon. Union Terminal, the Museum Center’s home and a Cincinnati landmark for over 80 years, prepares to undergo extensive repairs to ensure that it will be an iconic staple of the Cincinnati skyline and the home of Cincinnati Museum Center for generations to come.

As a thank you for 25 years of support, Cincinnati Museum Center is offering free admission to its three museums November 6 – 8. Visitors will have an opportunity to relive childhood memories or to make new ones inside the Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum and Duke Energy Children’s Museum. This gift to the community is made possible through the generous support of Fifth Third Bank, Turner Construction Company and United Dairy Farmers, Inc.

“At Fifth Third, we pride ourselves on being curious,” said Tim Elsbrock, market president for Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati). “That’s why we are honored to help underwrite this weekend of free admission here at Cincinnati Museum Center. For a child, the quest to explore, to innovate and to expand their thinking shapes their adulthood and has ripple effects throughout their life.”

“We are honored to help underwrite this weekend’s free admission and we encourage everyone in Cincinnati and the surrounding region to take this opportunity to revisit Cincinnati Museum Center or to visit for the first time,” said Dave Spaulding, general manager of Turner Construction Company. “I’d like to thank Cincinnati Museum Center for inspiring a sense of wonder inside each of us for 25 years. We can’t wait to see what the next 25 and beyond hold.”

OMNIMAX® prices are also rolling back to the original 1990 prices for the weekend. Viewers can go on a breathtaking journey around the world in the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater for just $4.50 ($2.50 for children). Cincinnati Museum Center Members will have exclusive access to the museums an hour early on Saturday (9 a.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.) that weekend, as well as a special 25% discount in the gift shops. Volunteers will also be handing out free samples of UDF ice cream at Fountain Square on Friday, November 6, courtesy of United Dairy Farmers and Bob Lindner, Jr.

“United Dairy Farmers is excited to be celebrating Cincinnati Museum Center’s 25th anniversary. What began as a conversation between the Museum of Natural History and the Historical Society in an effort to preserve Union Terminal has not only saved a Cincinnati icon but has transformed it into a world class institution,” said Bob Lindner, Sr., chairman of United Dairy Farmers, Inc . “The accomplishments during these 25 years are inspirational and would not have occurred without the overwhelming support of our amazing community.”

As Cincinnati Museum Center reflects on 25 remarkable years, staff and volunteers are proud, but even more, are excited for the years ahead.

“Over 25 years, Cincinnati Museum Center has grown and thrived on the smiles and memories of the people of the Greater Cincinnati region,” says Francie Hiltz, chair of the board of trustees for Cincinnati Museum Center. “This is our opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for 25 years of support, for sharing your memories with us and for inspiring us to do what we do every day. You are Cincinnati Museum Center and together we look forward to another 25 years (and beyond) of growth and inspiration.”

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