1. The Damascus Room at Cincinnati Art MuseumNumber one is so listed because of its honored spot on our annual Best of the City list. The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Damascus Room was named 2011’s Best Permanent Museum Exhibit for its random origin story (local art patron Andrew M. Jergens purchased and relocated an entire room from a Syrian home while on a 1932 trip to the Middle East) and for its unique, quiet beauty. cincinnatiartmuseum.org
2. The UnMuseum at the Contemporary Arts CenterThis gallery of “interactive art” (it’s ok to smell, touch, and otherwise, well, interact) is perfect for the various sticky-fingered children in your life. Plus, there’s an Art Lab with materials and supplies for when inspiration strikes. contemporaryartscenter.org/unmuseum
3. Taft Museum of Art’s Cincinnati collectionAlongside its impressive stash of Whistlers, Singer Sargents, and Turners, the Taft Museum also has a healthy collection of Cincinnati’s own art stars. Locally (and sometimes nationally) famous paintings are scattered throughout this gorgeous Greek Revival home, including Frank Duveneck’s The Cobbler's Apprentice, Henry Farny’s Song of the Talking Wire, and a series of lush murals created especially for the home around 1850 by famed African-American artist Robert Duncanson. taftmuseum.org
4. Alice Bimel Courtyard at Cincinnati Art MuseumThe Cincinnati Art Museum doesn’t want for beautiful surroundings, and its interior courtyard is no different. The space provides a nice blend of classical architecture with a more modern style of landscaping. While you’re out there, be sure to see the sculpture The Vine by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth. cincinnatiartmuseum.org
5. Cincinnati Museum CenterNumber five is a tie between two Cincinnati Museum Center exhibits that are responsible for many happy childhood memories: the History Museum and the Museum of Natural History & Science. On the History side, you have early settlement displays, replica steamboats, and an amazing working model of the city representing the early 1900s through the 1940s (complete with sunrise and sunset). On the Natural History & Science side, you have a re-created limestone cave, an underground waterfall, and the must-see walk-through glacier. cincymuseum.orgPhotographs courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum, copyright Don Ventre
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