CINCINNATI – In Cincinnati Museum Center’s newest exhibit, you don’t just learn history, you make history. Made in Cincinnati opens Friday, the newest permanent addition to CMC’s museum experience.
Made in Cincinnati is a celebration of innovation and excellence. It firmly plants the city’s flag as a leader of industry – past, present and future – and showcases the stories of individuals and corporations that have transformed homes, industries and entire markets.
“Our city has an incredible history of doing things differently, doing things better, making things better,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Made in Cincinnati explores the entrepreneurial spirit that courses through our DNA in a way that instills community pride and individual inspiration.”
Inventors and innovators who have been misplaced by history see their stock rise in the exhibit. Meet Henry Boyd, an enslaved man who bought his freedom and gave the world a better sleep with patented technology and handcrafted furniture. Discover the story of Cora Dow, the woman who reimagined drug stores by introducing the city’s first 24-hour pharmacy. And learn that everyone’s favorite oven feature – the glass viewing window that lets you see when your pizza rolls start to ooze out – was invented right here in Cincinnati by the Huenefeld Company.
Household names also loom large in Made in Cincinnati. Procter & Gamble’s market-defining strategy and product innovation is on display along with the Kroger’s revolutionary approach to make produce, toiletries and more available under one roof. Over 30 years of business excellence are recognized in the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame video kiosk, a partnership with Junior Achievement. The artistry of the Rookwood Pottery Company is on display with finished and unglazed mugs, pitchers and tiles. You can even pick your glaze to decorate the pieces in a virtual glazing station.
If your finished pottery doesn’t make the cut, you can try your hand at working a milling machine. Select your pattern and turn the handles as the cutter follows along. Mess up and an Operation-style buzzer will let you know. You can also test your knowledge of Cincinnati companies’ wartime pivots to meet the needs of World War II. From field radios to hidden escape maps, companies shifted production in fascinating ways to support the war effort.
n the true spirit of innovation that’s central to the exhibit, the way Made in Cincinnati presents its stories is unlike any other gallery at CMC. Objects obscured by frosted glass, invoking a sense of curiosity about what’s hidden, are revealed with the push of a button to guests already intrigued by what’s inside. Information and fun facts are delivered at the crank of a sausage grinder or the beep of a barcode scanner. And, in a whimsical execution of storytelling and presentation, an object theater illuminates artifacts in sync with a narrated story of King Records, Crosley radios, goetta, Cincinnati’s firefighting firsts and more.
“We wanted to not only change the way we think about Cincinnati’s history, but also how we learn it,” added Pierce. “We’re presenting information and telling these stories in new, unconventional ways that we hope adds to the fun of learning.”
Made in Cincinnati was made possible through generous support from Thomas E. Huenefeld. Contributions from the State of Ohio and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission supported the project. CMC also recognizes gifts from the James E. Bushman Family and Edward “Hap” F. Castleberry in support of Made in Cincinnati.
Made in Cincinnati is the latest success of CMC’s $110 million Champion More Curiosity campaign that is reimagining the museum experience with new exhibits and new programming while also securing its future through endowment support.
For more information, visit cincymuseum.org