National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Voted No. 1 History Museum in the Nation

The Cincinnati History Museum placed fifth in the same category, while Cincinnati Children's Museum ranked sixth in its poll.

click to enlarge The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center - Photo:
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

It's long been known by Cincinnatians that our city is home to stellar museums, but now, those museums are being recognized on a national scale. 10Best, USA Today's travel information hub that frequently relies on reader input, released the results of their polls for the best history and children's museums in the country, with three Cincinnati nominees earning Top 10 spots.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Downtown earned the No. 1 spot on the list of Best History Museums, beating out 19 other museums across the country. This is the third consecutive year the Freedom Center has been nominated, but the first it has won. In 2022 and 2021, the museum placed in the top 3.

The Freedom Center is renowned for its focus on sharing the stories of slavery in the United States, the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights movement and those who are enslaved today.

“Being named the best history museum in the country is a testament to the enduring power and relevance of the stories we tell and the passion with which our team tells them,” Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the Freedom Center, said in a press release. “This is an honor we share with our entire community who has supported us. To everyone who voted, everyone who has visited, everyone who has supported us in so many ways, you have our continued gratitude.”

Also competing to be named one of the best history museums in the country was Cincinnati Museum Center's Cincinnati History Museum, which placed fifth.

At this museum, visitors can step back in time to become immersed in Cincinnati’s history, from the earliest settlers to traditions only found here, like our chili. The museum has everything from costumed interpreters to a recreation of the bustling Public Landing as it was in the 1850s and a replica of the Queen of the West, a side-wheel steamboat.

"We’re honored to be recognized by our community and voters from across the nation as one of the country’s best museums,” Elizabeth Piece, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, said in a press release. "History isn’t just about the past or some event frozen in time, it’s dynamic and informs who and where we are today ... We’ve designed a history museum lets us travel to the past while finding its place in the present, being both immersive and introspective in a way that is both wildly enjoyable and powerfully informative.”

Pierce also serves as the CEO for the Freedom Center and says it's an honor for both Cincinnati history museums to claim two of the top 5 spots.

Another member of the Cincinnati Museum Center umbrella, the Cincinnati Children's Museum also earned the No. 6 spot for 10Best's Best Children's Museums.

“It’s so important to instill a love of learning from an early age, which is why we’ve designed our Children’s Museum to not only be accessible to kids of every age and ability, but of every interest,” added Pierce in the release. “As they play, they are learning about physics, biology, hygiene and engineering and, importantly, the value of being curious and trying new things.”

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, The Banks. More information:

Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. More information:

Coming soon: CityBeat Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Cincinnati stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Katherine Barrier

Katherine Barrier is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s journalism program and has nearly 10 years of experience reporting local and national news as a digital journalist. At CityBeat, she oversees the digital and social media strategies, edits web and print content and writes for the dining and arts...
Scroll to read more Culture articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.