Poignant Partnership: Sharing Inspiring Stories of Freedom & Perseverance

This Mosaic installation at the Holocaust & Humanity Center is designed to share the humanity of the victims of the Holocaust. The photos and artifacts from local survivors, along with rare moving images from before the war, set the stage for the richness and diversity of Jewish life that no longer exists in Europe.

Janine Spang


An expanded partnership between two historically significant Cincinnati institutions promises to provide visitors to each a variety of excellent opportunities for gleaning a greater understanding of the poignant stories and unique exhibitions offered by both.

“The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) have been partners since the inception of both institutions in a number of ways – programmatically, primarily,” says Sarah Weiss, HHC executive director and CEO. “Most recently, with our move to Cincinnati Union Terminal putting us closer to the Freedom Center, and Dion [Brown] taking over the leadership role there, there’s really been an openness to finding ways to further our partnership and take it to new levels. It comes from a lot of years of work and a shared vision, I think, for what we hope our museums represent in the community.”

This new partnership will include a mutual ticketing system offering admission discounts to individuals visiting both the NURFC and the HHC, as well as a bundled ticket price for groups.

“These ideas came about after Sarah and I met in her office and we decided we needed to expand our partnership because both of our museums hold histories people need to experience,” says Brown, NURFC president and COO. “We have over 100,000 people come to our museum each year, so why not give those people exposure to the Holocaust & Humanity Center at the same time? I thought it was a win-win, and Sarah agreed with me that this gives more people an opportunity to see two significant institutions in our city. We also want our collaboration to impact more local students.”

Adds Weiss, “As Dion said, we have two very important histories and we share an important connection with our community. While our histories are distinct and experiences at both museums are unique, what we hope is that this new partnership – beyond driving attendance – sends the message that our institutions have visions that overlap
and connect, that our stories are all part of our collective history and they need to be told.”

Equipping Today’s Abolitionists

The mission of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, founded in 2004, is to reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today. The museum is located in downtown Cincinnati just a few steps from the banks of the Ohio River, once the great natural barrier between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North. The institution is a museum of conscience, an education center, a convener of dialogue, and a beacon of light for inclusive freedom around the globe.

Celebrating Everyday Freedom Heroes

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Everyday Freedom Hero Award recognizes those local individuals and organizations who truly exemplify the best of being a free people in a free society, striving to live up to the ideals of the Underground Railroad movement, the foremost of which is freely using one’s resources to attend to the well-being of others.

The award also provides the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center the opportunity to lift up their stories to inspire the next generation of freedom heroes. This year’s honorees are John Pepper, the Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., Edwin Rigaud and Francie Hiltz. The Everyday Freedom Hero Awards program is slated for Friday, Aug. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the NURFC’s Grand Hall.

Special Events and Exhibits

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is also commemorating the 55th anniversary of Freedom Summer, an integral milestone in the nation’s civil rights history. The Freedom 55 commemoration includes the Freedom 55 Lecture Series, which began in March. On September 19, the lecture series will feature Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter who was instrumental in the opening of multiple civil rights violation cases that led to conviction.

 Another inspiring attraction, “Men of Change: Power, Triumph, Truth,” profiles the revolutionary men – including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Kendrick Lamar – whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country. On display August 17 – December 1 on the third floor in the Skirball Gallery, “Men of Change” was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and made possible through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund and
Community Services.

Challenging Injustice, Inhumanity and Prejudice

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center was founded in 2000, the realization of a dream that started with and was nurtured by several predecessor organizations over a span of 35 years. The HHC’s mission is to ensure that the lessons of Holocaust inspire action today by educating people about the Holocaust and remembering its victims. The organization challenges injustice, inhumanity and prejudice while fostering understanding, inclusion and engaged citizenship, impacting hundreds of thousands of people every year through innovative programs and partnerships.

The HHC originally opened on the Cincinnati Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, moving to Rockwern Academy in Kenwood in 2009. In January, HHC held its grand reopening after relocating to the renovated Cincinnati Union Terminal.

Summer programming at the HHC includes:

  Drop-in tours available on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. – Trained exhibit interpreters provide a guided tour in the museum. (Free with Museum admission)

  Holocaust Speaker Series on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. – Holocaust survivors and descendants share reflections on their families’ experiences. (Free and open to the public)

  1940s Weekend at Cincinnati Museum Center on Saturday, Aug. 10, all day. HHC speakers will be featured during this event, which celebrates Union Terminal’s heritage as a transit hub and friendly respite during that pivotal decade. (Free with admission)

  80th Anniversary of WWII – Sunday, Sept.1. Special programming throughout the day.

  The Great Human Race 5K, Sunday, Aug. 18, 8 a.m. at the Mayerson JCC – A family-friendly walk/run to support the Mayerson JCC and the HHC, two organizations that serve as homes for the greater community to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and foster understanding of each individual.

Both the NURFC and the HHC are part of The Cincinnati Regional Coalition Against Hate, a nonpartisan alliance of organizations committed to vigilance against hate activity through supporting impacted communities and fostering acceptance, compassion, and justice for all in the Cincinnati region.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located at 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit www.freedomcenter.org.

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is now located in Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave, Suite 2101, Cincinnati, OH 45203. For more information, visit www.holocaustandhumanity.org.