The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, opened in 2004 as a part of the category of “Museums of Conscience”. The museum is dedicated to teaching the history of slavery in the United States, around the world, and how it continues today. Cincinnati, as one of the major players in the underground railroad, was the perfect location for such a museum.
The Freedom Center offers many exhibits and displays. Invisible: Slavery Today delves into modern-day slavery, with as many as 27 million people in bondage today. This display examines what causes lead to the existence of slavery, what is being done today to stop slavery around the world, and what you can do to help.
One of the museum’s principle exhibits & artifacts, is the Slave Pen, a log building built in 1830, as a holding room for slaves, before they were shipped further south to be sold. The Slave Pen invokes a feeling of respect, as you stand within, and see how the slaves were treated, and read the names of some of those who would have been enclosed in this prison.
Other exhibits include a 25 minute film titled “Brothers of the Borderland“, depicting the story of a slave’s flight to freedom, and the danger others put themselves in to aid in her escape. ESCAPE!, enlightens you on key figures in America’s fight to abolish slavery, and of their brave and impactful deeds.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center also hosts some special events, a calendar of which can be found here. Admission to the museum is $12 for adults, and $8 for children. The museum is located at 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. Museum hours, parking information, and other attractions in the area can be found on the visitor’s page of FreedomCenter.org.