Cincinnati Museum Center launches campaign to reimagine museum with new exhibits

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) launched today the public engagement phase of its $85 million campaign to reimagine its museum experiences. The campaign to Champion More Curiosity – the largest in CMC’s history – will fund the buildout of nine new exhibits and the update of four familiar favorites, in addition to funding new programming and bolstering CMC’s endowment.

The $85 million campaign to Champion More Curiosity will shape CMC’s future while creating generations of critical thinkers to power the innovation of our region. In addition to building or updating over a dozen permanent exhibits, the campaign will equip state-of-the-art labs for cutting-edge research for students from elementary grades to post-docs. As part of the plan, each aspect of the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Cincinnati History Museum is being updated or transformed with a focus on better synergy between science and history, designing a museum experience for guests that builds on itself with each visit. To date, the Champion More Curiosity campaign has raised over $67 million.

“Cincinnati Museum Center is a place of discovery that sits at the locus of science, art, technology, history and culture; a meeting place of left- and right-brains that ignites neurons through wide-eyed wonderment,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Together, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine our museum and, in the process, strengthen our community and transform young minds as we launch quests of discovery.”

Of the campaign’s $85 million goal, $40 million will support the development of new exhibits. The complete reimagining of CMC’s exhibits began in 2018 with the refresh of the Public Landing gallery and the opening of a brand new Dinosaur Hall, completed with the support of United Dairy Farmers, Inc. The Dinosaur Hall set the tone for CMC’s future exhibits: each will be designed around the strengths of the museum’s collections, utilizing layers of technology and compelling storytelling. The upcoming Mission Ordovician: Cincinnati Under the Sea and Archaeology and Early Settlement galleries are two such examples. Mission Ordovician: Cincinnati Under the Sea showcases CMC’s world-renowned Ordovician fossil collection, the best and largest of its kind in the world. Archaeology and Early Settlement introduces guests to the region’s earliest human inhabitants, prominently featuring objects and artifacts collected from CMC’s active archaeological site in Newtown.

Other galleries will tell stories unique to our region. The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation, opened in 2019 to tell the story of the historic Apollo 11 mission and expanded in 2020 with interactive components to showcase new technology that can take humans to Mars and beyond. The Made in Cincinnati gallery, catalyzed with a gift from the late Thomas Huenefeld and scheduled to open in 2022, will tell the stories of the region’s inventors and innovators in an interactive gallery that challenges guests to try their hand at design and invention or to chart their own course from factory to market. The John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery, named in honor of honorary campaign chair and legendary artist John A. Ruthven, will bring the 20,000-acre Richard & Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System from Adams County to the heart of Cincinnati. The new gallery inspired by the Edge, co-managed by CMC and the Ohio Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, will immerse guests in the sights, sounds, textures and scents of the great outdoors, complete with live animal encounters.

To support programming updates and operating needs, $20 million will help inspire the next generation of physicists, archaeologists, astronauts, doctors and researchers while closing the race and gender gaps in STEM fields. STEM Girls, Youth Programs, Programs-on-Wheels and more will have the opportunity to expand its audience and reach through the success of the Champion More Curiosity campaign. Research positions and spaces, including the John A. and Judy Ruthven DNA Lab and John A. and Judy Ruthven Curator of Zoology, will cement CMC as a leader in the scientific community through ongoing research and expanded capabilities.

“Cincinnati Museum Center is an institution built on the brilliance, pioneering spirt and indomitable will of so many. Now, as we inspire people to think critically, to explore how science informs history and how innovation springs forth from innovation, we are daring future generations to take the next giant leap,” said Pierce.

As CMC continues to plan for its future, growing its endowment is a critical goal that will make sustained growth possible. The Champion More Curiosity campaign will contribute $25 million to CMC’s endowment, which will help sustain its future and fuel additional growth.

“Cincinnati Museum Center is a vital contributor to the vibrancy of our region and enhances economic impact for the good of all,” said James M. Zimmerman, Cincinnati partner in charge at Taft Law and Champion More Curiosity Co-Chair. “The Champion More Curiosity campaign will not only fuel the museum’s future but will fuel the economic prosperity of our region.”

The Champion More Curiosity campaign seeks support from CMC’s entire community of guests, Members, advocates and supporters. Champions of curiosity can donate by rounding up their sale, adding a donation online at checkout when purchasing tickets or Memberships, adding on a donation at retail and food service spaces inside CMC or directly at the box office. Donations are accepted by credit card, check, cash or piggy bank. Gifts can be made online at supportcmc.org

“Every gift in support of this once-in-a-generation opportunity will make a lifelong impact,” added Edward D. Diller, senior counsel at Taft Law and Champion More Curiosity Co-Chair. “We want everyone to know that they can play a role in ensuring today’s wide-eyed explorers are tomorrow’s innovators.”

CMC is hoping to raise the remaining $18 million of its campaign goal by July 2023. Up to and after that date, it will continue developing, designing and building new exhibits, with several scheduled to open between now and 2023, including the Ice Age Gallery (July 2021), John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery (2022), Made in Cincinnati (2022), Mission Ordovician: Cincinnati Under the Sea (2023) and Archaeology and Early Settlement Gallery (2024).

For more information about how you can Champion More Curiosity or to donate, visit supportcmc.org

Top