All Aboard

All Aboard

Museum Expands Its Legacy of Exciting, Educating & Inspiring

Are you ready to embark on a hands-on adventure that will get your heart pumping, your mind racing and leave you with a lifetime of unforgettable stories? Whether it’s staring into the razor-toothed maw of a prehistoric creature, navigating the twists and turns of a limestone cave, or being rocketed into outer space to discover the mysteries of our galaxy, Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) has ignited curiosity, sparked imaginations and captured the hearts of its visitors for generations.

Since 1990, CMC has called Union Terminal its home.

Opening in 1933, Union Terminal originally served as the intercity hub for Cincinnati’s five train stations, providing service for all passenger and freight lines entering the city. Built to accommodate up to 17,000 people and 216 trains a day, Union Terminal enjoyed great success throughout the 1930s and 1940s. As automobiles and air transportation gained popularity post- World War II, however, the number of trains steadily declined. By 1972, the last train service to Union Terminal ended and the building — known for its art deco style, designed by New York-based architects Alfred Fellheimer and Stewart Wagner — sat dormant for several years.

By the mid-1980s, two Cincinnati institutions — the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and the Cincinnati Historical Society — collaborated with the City and the State of Ohio to con- vert Union Terminal into a museum. Thus, CMC was born. To date, CMC houses the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History & Science, the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, and the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater.

CMC has been quietly raising funds toward a comprehensive $85 million campaign designed to give guests a world-class experience by reimagining the museum. Now, the publicly launched campaign to Champion More Curiosity is focused on completing new exhibits and maintaining financial sustainability.

Before they could start planning for the future museum experience, CMC needed to restore Union Terminal by addressing decades of structural deterioration and water damage. Repairs included making the building watertight and upgrading all of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems.

“We knew we needed to fix Union Terminal so we could stay forever,” Elizabeth Pierce, CMC’s president and CEO, says. “We are an organization that’s 200 years in the making, and we view ourselves as custodians and caretakers so we can ensure it’s here for the next 200-plus years.”

Once the restoration was completed in late-2018, CMC focused its attention on creating a unique and memorable experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.

Funds collected through the campaign to Champion More Curiosity are being focused on the update, design and launch of 22 exhibits, labs and classrooms. Exhibits offering refreshed looks and hands-on science interactives include the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation; The Cave; the Cincinnati in Motion train display; and the Ice Age Gallery. A brand-new passageway, aptly named Dinosaur Hall, features dazzling specimens you won’t find anywhere else. CMC is also excited to introduce Made in Cincinnati, an upcoming exhibit that will be located in the Cincinnati History Museum.

“We’re constantly striving to develop a sense of curiosity that people can use their entire lives.," says Pierce. "We’re highlighting how science is everywhere and we’re putting history in context — at the end of the day we want to develop more interesting people and analytical members of society.”

CMC recognizes the impact the museum has on Cincinnati and appreciates the community’s generosity in helping it achieve its goals. In 2014, Cincinnatians passed the Issue 8 tax levy to restore Union Terminal.

“This has been a vision of many steps and partnerships,” says Edward D. Diller, campaign co-chair. “The community’s endorsement of Union Terminal’s restoration was the first step forward and served as a call to action for Cincinnati Museum Center to move toward new experiences that will serve our students, families and regions in a robust, impactful way.”

James Zimmerman, campaign co-chair, agrees, adding that the Cincinnati community has been a prominent partner in the campaign to Champion More Curiosity since its inception.

“Having a place that inspires learning is difficult to replicate. Not every city has such a unique historical institution. The community’s willingness to help give the museum a strong financial footing for the next 200 years further illustrates its impact on the lives of our members.”

As campaign cabinet members work diligently to move the Champion More Curiosity campaign forward, they are asking the Cincinnati community to continue their unwavering support. Every gift is valued and appreciated (from philanthropic donations to children giving pennies from their piggy banks), and all of the money raised will be used to help fund the completion of CMC’s exhibits.

“We have enough momentum, progress and results to demonstrate where we’re headed,” Pierce says. “It makes sense to introduce the Champion More Curiosity campaign to the public and make people aware of ways they can support the organization going forward.”

Champion More Curiosity

With the comprehensive  restoration  complete,  CMC is looking to the future — and you can be part of that big vision. CMC has launched the Champion More Curiosity campaign to give you more exhibits, more interactive experiences and more programming and opportunities to learn and connect.

Your gifts to Cincinnati Museum Center will accomplish the following strategic goals:

  • Inspire awe and wonder in guests from the moment they enter Union Terminal
  • Enrich public education by supporting teaching and complementing curricula
  • Deepen interest in science among guests of all   ages, including STEM interactives and the museum’s world-leading fossil and dinosaur collections
  • Strengthen civic pride by telling Cincinnati’s story of leadership in commerce, health care and global affairs
  • Create a new interplay of ideas and knowledge using the depth of the museum’s collections and interactive museums

The Champion More Curiosity campaign seeks support from CMC’s community of advocates, supporters, members and lifelong learners. Every gift, no matter the size, makes an impact that will inspire for generations to come.

Here are just a few examples of what your support will help accomplish:

  • $1.8M will support the John A. and Judy Ruthven Get into Nature gallery that will bring the biodiversity of the Edge of Appalachia to Union Terminal.
  • $1.1M will support reimagining the fan-favorite Ice Age Gallery that is set to open in July 2021.
  • $2M will support the new gallery Mission Ordovician: Cincinnati Under the Sea, showcasing CMC’s world- renowned Ordovician fossil collection.

$85M Campaign Goal:

$40M in support of new and enhanced permanent exhibits

$20M in support of CMC’s operating needs and programmatic support

$25M in support of sustaining CMC’s future by investing in its endowment

Cincinnati Museum Center is located at 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203. For more information, call 513.287.7000 or visit

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