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Quote from: natininja on January 19, 2011, 07:43:51 AMIt's amazing to me how many people here are against the URFC. I'd expect this on Enquirer comments, but not here.I have a feeling local animosity to the museum plays a big part in the lack of success. I think you have this reversed.The animosity is DUE to the lack of success. Which is normal.The place cant pay for itself, said it wouldnt need funding, and now is trying to ask for some.Sounds erily similar to our losing bengals team that many are showing animosity to.
It's amazing to me how many people here are against the URFC. I'd expect this on Enquirer comments, but not here.I have a feeling local animosity to the museum plays a big part in the lack of success.
Kevster, have you been to the museum? Just curious.
Yes, Chris, and I see no reason to return to the UGRFC (shortened it for typing sake). It's much of the same content, with some rotating exhibits, but nothing that particularly interests me enough to go back and pay again. It's a subset of the museum genre that I've been interested in for a while - I've written articles and photographed numerous similar sites, notably the National Underground Railroad Museum in Maysville, the Ranklin House, the Parker House and over three dozen Civil War heritage sites and reenactments. I've also been to the Muhammad Ali Museum down in Louisville multiple times (which is seeing YTY traffic growth and is not subsidized) for assignments. It's not that I don't respect the UGRFC, it's just that I personally find it to not be a repeat attraction in my opinion.
As for the Dayton Art Institute, I was using that as an example since it was recently posted about several times in the Dayton Daily Times. It is suffering from some of the same parallels to the UGRFC, but it's not entirely comparable.
There are many who believe museums on the whole should not be subsidized on the backs of taxpayers, for instance.
Quote from: Ram23 on January 19, 2011, 07:02:16 AM I guess the only thing wrong with my prior statement is that it should be "somewhere else in the city;" it shouldn't, it should probably be in Washington, perhaps as a part of the forthcoming Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.You're saying- since cincinnati isn't well cultured, we should just get rid of museums that relate to our history.
I guess the only thing wrong with my prior statement is that it should be "somewhere else in the city;" it shouldn't, it should probably be in Washington, perhaps as a part of the forthcoming Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.
The marketing (now) isn't the problem. The marking reports (or lack thereof) that allowed the thing to get built in the first place were the problem. Taft and the CAC serve a relatively large niche of art culture that exists in Cincinnati, and are thus successful. There's not a big enough niche for the Freedom Center, and there's not enough draw that it can, by itself, increase tourism like the Rock and Roll hall of fame might have.
No, we shouldn't pour money down the drain on niche museums that aren't successful.
The Freedom Center, by comparison, is way, way too large and expensive for what it is. It's almost twice the size of the CAC, (by square footage) for example.
Also, I saw ColDayMan mentioned it should have been federally funded. I'd completely support it if that were the case, if it truly was a national museum.
Part of the battle the Freedom Center has been battling against its whole life is a connection to the racial antipathy that was so nasty at the beginning of the last decade. It has an odd vision - mixing a memorial to the underground railroad museum, a history of slavery, and a broader social justice museum. The slave pen is entirely too clean to drive home the experiential aspect. Unfortunately, the fact that the Cincinnati Historical Society museum hasn't had more churn in its own presentations doesn't allow the Freedom Center to engage in a fruitful dialog w/ a more dominant narrative. I don't think the problem is that the center is too focused on one group, but rather they spent too much on the building and not enough on developing interesting exhibits in its first few years. The American I Am exhibit that they just finished developing and have sent off to travel the country is supposedly quite good. I do think that the atmosphere of race relations in Cincinnati has retarded its potential. Many Cincinnatians aren't interested in the more challenging aspects of the narrative they want to present, while others consider this to be blood money paid after April 2001 and that it isn't radical enough.
To the people that don't like the Freedom Center, say it's propped up by tax payers, doesn't have strong enough attendance, etc. What do you think about the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum? The ballpark and the museum was paid for almost exclusively by the taxpayers. The attendance at the HoF is minimal (certainly an example of a "niche" museum), and I can't imagine it not operating in the red. The Museum Center, Library, and Zoo also have had to rely on tax payer levys. Why is there no disdain directed towards these institutions? Why is there such disgust for the Freedom Center, but seemingly everything else gets a pass?
The Freedom center just reminds people of the past which causes racism to still exist today. People don't know how to shut up about it and they wonder why it keeps manifesting. That's why you go to a peace rally and not an anti-war rally. It is absolutely insane that we have to still listen to BS today about what happened almost 200 years ago. Was it a horrible time? ofcourse it was. Racism is horrible and so is slavery. But when are people going to let go? Bottom line...when you relive the past, you get the same results today.
What I love about Cincinnati is the amazing racial cynicism people have to that museum. It's like white people are offended by it (I'm white, moved here a few years ago from the pacific coast)...
Quote from: Sherman Cahal on January 19, 2011, 02:52:38 AMIdea: Open up the "Freedom Museum" to include more than one race. Lay off employees. Reduce hours and operating days. It's a recession.The Freedom Museum DOES include more than one race (even YOUR ancestry), if you've ever been.
Idea: Open up the "Freedom Museum" to include more than one race. Lay off employees. Reduce hours and operating days. It's a recession.
I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more exhibits like those described above and if the actual underground railroad had been featured more. I had expected it to be more of a celebration of those who risked their lives to smuggle slaves out of the south.
Quote from: OCtoCincy on January 19, 2011, 03:17:00 AMWhat I love about Cincinnati is the amazing racial cynicism people have to that museum.Racial cynicism, you ain't neva lied. The mere suggestion that the Freedom Center "would be a great theater" instead of one of those slave museums is downright insulting. This latest installment in this thread is damn-near proving Jeffrey's comments about how Cincinnati isn't cosmopolitan.Insulting, really. The reason the museum does poorly is marketing.
What I love about Cincinnati is the amazing racial cynicism people have to that museum.
QuoteThe Freedom Center is not a successful museum, and the subject matter is far too specific to merit being a standalone establishment (at least in a city like Cincinnati that does not have a lot of tourists). And if you want to head the "niche market," it should attract AFRICAN-AMERICAN visitors to the city (and if ANY city in this state needs that press, it's Cincinnati).
The Freedom Center is not a successful museum, and the subject matter is far too specific to merit being a standalone establishment (at least in a city like Cincinnati that does not have a lot of tourists).
I think it would help a lot if the Freedom Center had more artifacts and exhibits. The most striking thing about that place when I've been there is just how empty it is. It feels like a large majority of the floor space in the building is completely underutilized. The exhibits feel crammed into small areas on the sides while the center of the building is a vast, empty circulation space.
I wish it did even more on the actual Underground Railroad and the Ohio Valley's role in the 1800's.
It's like that "Latino" (aka Mexican) Museum in Pilsen in Chicago. It gets white hipsters (becuase non-black ethnicity is "culturaly diverse", and thus "cool") and latinos and thats about it.
QuoteI wish it did even more on the actual Underground Railroad and the Ohio Valley's role in the 1800's.There's an opportunity to tie in with regional heritage tourism. And places like Ripley and the part of Kentucky across the river are doing that. Ripley already has that abolitionist house, the Rankin House, and they restored this freedmans house (he owned a foundry but was also active in the UR), and are marketing themselves in relation to the Underground Railroad. You are seeing somewhat similar tourist pitches across the river in the Maysville area....though this could be developed more. This area has a lot of inherent value in terms of vernacular architecture, townscapes and landscape, and could be tied in with the Freedom Center as day-trip destination to see the environment where events transpired.
The Freedom Center is one of the finest cultural exhibits I have ever been to. To say that a movie theater should replace it, which Cincinnati has dozens of, or that it should be moved, or shrank, are some of the most ignorant comments ever uttered on UO. Cincinnati needs the Center. Whenever I've been there, the attendance was steady. It isn't the Center's fault it was launched in the epicenter of Cincinnnati's second largest boondoggle, its riverfront. OTR/West End being the biggest of course.
The Freedom Center is one of the finest cultural exhibits I have ever been to. [...] Whenever I've been there, the attendance was steady.
Quote from: City Blights on January 26, 2011, 11:54:20 PMThe Freedom Center is one of the finest cultural exhibits I have ever been to. [...] Whenever I've been there, the attendance was steady.And that is objective and "ignorant" at best (using your word). I pointed out the facts here, which show that while the first 12 months showed promising attendance numbers - 33,960 per month in its first year, the 7 months after showed a steep drop to 10,200 per month. And instead of hoping for 260,000, as they did in 2004, the revised estimates for 2005 were 175,000-200,000.The Taft Museum now draws nearly as many as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. And they are a much smaller institution than the Freedom Center! And I won't even disclose again how many the Creation Museum receives (yeah, so it's not a scientifically-accurate institution, but it's an attraction none the less).Spencer Crew, the museum director, stated that the museum would never need public assistance, but by March 2006, he was seeking a $2 million per year subsidy.
^ Sherman's facts are persuasive, but it is more interesting to think about what could be as opposed to what was. I'm no prognosticator, but there's no way that I'd be caught guessing that FC attendance stays level into the future. There's too much changing in their neighborhood at the moment to allow that. The banks development is a nice positive step, but I'd think once the streetcar is built and the riverfront park is complete, you'd see an attendance increase.