National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, based on the history of the Underground Railroad. Opened in 2004, the Center also commemorates all efforts to “abolish human enslavement and protected liberty for all individuals.” It is one of a brand-new group of “museums of conscience” in the United States, together with the Museum of Tolerance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Center uses insight into the battle for flexibility in the past, in today, and for the future, as it tries to challenge visitors to ponder the meaning of flexibility in their own lives. Its location acknowledges the substantial function of Cincinnati in the history of the Underground Railroad, as thousands of slaves left to flexibility by crossing the Ohio River from the southern slave states. Many found haven in the city, some staying there temporarily before heading north to gain liberty in Canada. Cincinnati Ohio Information.

Established August 2004
Location 50 E. Freedom Way Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Type Public
Visitors 180,000 annual
President Dion Brown

The structure

After 10 years of preparation, fundraising, and building and construction, the $110 million Freedom Center opened to the public on August 3, 2004; main opening events took place on August 23. The 158,000 square foot (15,000 m ²) structure was designed by Boora Architects (style designer) of Portland, Oregon with Blackburn Architects (architect of record) of Indianapolis. Three pavilions commemorate nerve, cooperation and determination. The exterior includes rough travertine stone from Tivoli, Italy on the east and west faces of the structure, and copper panels on the north and south. According to Walter Blackburn, one of its main designers prior to his death, the building’s “undulating quality” reveals the fields and the river that getting away servants crossed to reach freedom. First Lady Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey, and Muhammad Ali went to the groundbreaking event on June 17, 2002.

Slave pen

The center’s principal artifact is a 21 by 30-foot (6 by 9 m), two-story log slave pen constructed in 1830. By 2003, it was “the just known enduring rural servant prison,” formerly used to house servants prior to their being shipped to auction. It was reconstructed in the second-floor atrium of the museum, where visitors encounter it again and again while exploring other displays. Passersby on the street outside can also persevere the Center’s large windows. The pen was initially owned by Captain John Anderson, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and slave trader. Slaves from the area were transferred from Dover, Kentucky to servant markets in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana; they were held in this pen for a few days or numerous months, as he and other traders waited for beneficial market conditions and greater offering prices. ” The pen is effective,” says Carl Westmoreland, manager and senior consultant to the museum. When individuals stand inside, they speak in whispers. Visitors to the museum can walk through the holding pen and touch its walls. The first names of some of the servants believed to have actually been kept in the pen are listed on a wood slab in the pen’s interior; they were documented in records kept by servant traders who used the pen. Westmoreland invested three and a half years discovering the story of the servant jail. Its authentication by him and other historians is considered “a landmark in the material culture of slavery.” Westmoreland stated, There is a hidden history right listed below the surface, part of the unspoken vocabulary of the American historic landscape.

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