This Cincinnati Museum Center Exhibit Offers a Bird’s-Eye View of the Queen City

The display shrinks Cincinnati to 1/64 scale and shows how we’ve changed through the years.
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Photograph by Wes Battoclette

The Queen City’s true majesty can be difficult to grasp from the vantage point of its busy streets and sidewalks. Lucky for us, a freshly restored exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center offers a bird’s-eye view of the city’s picturesque neighborhoods, each representing a decade during the first half of the 20th century. Cincinnati in Motion is a 1/64-scale model of the city, from downtown’s skyscrapers to the Mt. Adams Incline to the Island Queen steamboat chugging below the Roebling Suspension Bridge. A much-loved part of the museum center since its inception in 1999, the model had to be disassembled and relocated during the recent renovations. The downtown section stayed put, but like the entire layout (expected to be finished in the spring), it’s received a fresh coat of paint (worked on above by John Ruzsa) and new features like LED lights, including glowing signs for the Albee Theatre and Greyhound bus station. “We added a lot of cool little details,” says exhibits specialist Henning Kloepper. “It’s been quite exciting.” Pro tip: Spend some time with the exhibit; a daylong cycle lasts roughly 15 minutes, featuring an illuminated night scene and a building fire on Seventh Street—emergency responders, smoke, and all.

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