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“Give it a lot of time” 5 of 5 stars
Review of National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Central Business District)
513 333 7500
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Ranked #20 of 85 attractions in Cincinnati
Type: History Museums
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands as the nation's newest monument to freedom. It brings to life the importance - and relevance - of struggles for freedom around the world and throughout history, including today.
Maryland
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Give it a lot of time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

I went by myself and had a little over 1 1/2 hours. It wasn't enough. Especially if you tried to use the free audio tour and saw the different videos(which I really liked). Good background of slavery and the history of it.

Visited November 2012
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Indiana
Top Contributor
136 reviews 136 reviews
29 attraction reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“Lacks emotional connection, exhibits largely unmoving”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

I was really disappointed in the Freedom Center overall, I can see why they have difficulty attracting visitors. Most of the displays that have to do with the history of slavery in the United States seem juvenile, underdesigned, and a bit dated -- even though the museum itself is rather new. "Underground Railroad" is a bit of a misnomer, because the part of the museum devoted to the underground railroad is actually quite small.

One of the most moving exhibits is found at the very beginning of the museum, the slave cabin. Being able to walk inside the cabin really paints the picture for you of the absolutely horrific conditions, and what the imprisoned slaves were experiencing. Unfortunately, our visit was marred by one of the museum workers (who appear to be elderly volunteers) who got too preachy and political about the repercussions of slavery today. Not that she didn't have a valid point, but it was clear that not everyone shared her perspective and it made people uncomfortable. One poor couple was the last left near her, and they struggled for a few minutes to graciously get away. I don't think many people expect to come to a place like this to be yelled at.

Bring headphones to make the most of the free iPod touch audio guides, otherwise you find yourself too connected to the device and not really experiencing the exhibits. With headphones, you can let the device hang and listen to the narration while you look around. The production quality of the various films in little theaters varied greatly. The best one was the Ohio river escape, with an introduction by Oprah Winfrey. It was one of the few times where the feelings of fear, anxiety, courage, were conveyed in a way that allowed the museumgoer to truly empathize with the plight of the runaway slave. The worst was midnight decision, which had all the polish of a Rescue 911 reenactment.

The absolute best portion of the entire museum was the exhibit on the third floor about slavery today. It was much more engaging, told personal stories about people enslaved, had more sensory stimulation, and resulted in a more moving, connective experience. You walk away from that exhibit with tears in your eyes, thinking about ways that you can do more to contribute to the cause. And that's what you'd expect from a place called Freedom Center.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Everyone should visit at least once”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

We have been to this museum several times, and we often take out of town guests. The best parts are the slave cabin, and the film which is narrated by Oprah Winfrey. Don't miss those if you are short on time.

Visited October 2012
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Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“American History, little known”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

The depth of history that was display concerning America's evolution towards living up to it's ideals.

Visited October 2012
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San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Amazing information and art!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

I thought I knew a lot about the Underground Railroad and slavery. I did not know enough. A great museum.

Visited October 2012
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