National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Our role in shaping our community was recognized nationally by the Institute of Museum and Library Services when we received a 2009-10 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. We were nominated locally by long-time community leader William Mallory Sr., with letters of support from parent and Museum Center member Margaret O’Donoghue and public school teacher Marie T. Dornbusch.

We were excited to receive this national award in Washington, D.C. and were honored that Faith Anne Brown, one of our Youth Program graduates, could help us accept it. Faith Anne developed her sense of leadership by working with our visitors, digging for dinosaur bones in Montana and by sharing life experiences with other Cincinnati area teens in our youth development program. She is now a graduate of St. Ursula Academy and Howard University with an honors degree in chemistry. She went on to study public health at the graduate level.

This prestigious honor — it’s been called the Oscar, Emmy or Pulitzer of the museum world — is awarded to outstanding museums and libraries that make exceptional contributions to their communities, and demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, inclusiveness and community outreach. We were pleased to share this honor locally with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which received the award in 2013.

American Association of Museums Accreditation

In August 2012 Cincinnati Museum Center achieved accreditation from the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public. Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 778 (only 4.5%) are currently accredited. Cincinnati Museum Center is one of 26 museums accredited in Ohio and joins the Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden as accredited institutions in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Museum Center is one of only 16 institutions nationally honored with both the IMLS award as well as AAM Accreditation.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years. Museums are not required to apply for accreditation; the process is completely self-motivated to be sure one is operating at the highest possible level.

AAM applauded Cincinnati Museum Center as a well-organized and well-run museum, with deep roots in the community and dedicated stakeholders (trustees, management, staff and volunteers). Specifically, Museum Center's Youth Programs and annual Learning Through Play conference were noted to serve as national models of working with at-risk students and with parents. Additionally, the Accreditation Commission was impressed with Museum Center's outstanding efforts to preserve historic Union Terminal and its collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Union Terminal Restoration

From 2016 to 2018, Union Terminal underwent the first full structural restoration in its history. Over 2,400 craftsmen worked more than 900,000 hours to turn back the clock on this National Historic Landmark. The $228 million project addressed over eight decades of wear, including significant water damage, particularly focusing on repairing structural steel and the exterior envelope while also updating mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to make the building more efficient to operate. The restoration helped preserve Union Terminal and secure the home of Cincinnati Museum Center for generations to come.

The Union Terminal Restoration Project received the following awards:

  • American Institute of Architects, Ohio Merit Award
  • State Historic Preservation Office, Preservation Merit Award
  • Cincinnati Preservation Association, Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Traditional Building Magazine, Palladio Award
  • Building Design + Construction Reconstruction Awards, Gold Award
  • Engineering News Record, Award of Merit
  • Ohio Concrete Project of the Year

2018 Alliance of Midwest Museums Best Practices Award for Curate My Community

We were excited to receive a Best Practices Award for Curate My Community in 2018 by the Alliance of Midwest Museums.

2018 ASTC Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Business Practice for JurassicGeist

We were excited to receive the ASTC Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Business Practice for JurassicGeist in 2018.

astronauts in front of space rock
John Kerry visit to UT- 089