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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
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$32.10*
and up
Queen City Bike Tour
Ranked #9 of 171 things to do in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Middletown, Ohio
Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Nostalgia”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2012

It is an important part of our history that some of the good people in this area helped the slaves escape their hideous plight. Instead of showing the minorities how we helped in the past what say we help the ones who need help now?

Helpful?
Thank Paula B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
89 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2012

Terrific exhibtis. They do a good job of telling the story. Most museums are just aritifacts and pictures, but they have audio and other sensory exhibits so you are immersed. Items are around you and not just behind a glass.

Helpful?
Thank Hickoryview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
104 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“A Bit Sobering But Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2012

This museum is wonderful. First, it is in the perfect location--right across the Ohio River in Cincinnati which is where many slaves crossed over into freedom. Second, it is reasonably priced ($12) and provides an ipod for an audio and visual walk along exhibit. The exhibits are all well done. Third, it is not so much about the underground railroad, but also about the perseverance, courage, and cooperation with others that it took to make this endeavor a success. It has a real universal theme quality. If you own an iphone, you may want to download the app from the website and use it to follow along. It does take some time to see. I would recommend arriving close to the time when it opens. We arrived at 11:30 and didn't see everything when we decided to leave after 3:00 pm. We plan on returning. We stayed at the Hilton Netherland Plaza which is a close walk (4-5 blocks) away.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank nedradc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level Contributor
78 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Give it a lot of time”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank Misstourguide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
Level Contributor
270 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Lacks emotional connection, exhibits largely unmoving”
3 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
1 Thank LaChatNoir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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