Whether you've visited before, or this is your first time, the Cincinnati Art Museum is a visual arts gem. The exhibits are continually changing as the permanent collection is rotated into the displays and special exhibitions come to town. If it has been a while since your last visit, make sure to come and see what’s new, and if you’ve never been before, what are you waiting for?
Art Museum Accolades
Founded in 1881, the world-class Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the country, and the original building was built in 1886. The Romanesque-revival building designed by James McLaughlin is beautiful and remarkable. The museum houses the largest collections of artwork in Ohio with over 67,000 pieces in the permanent display. This impressive collection spans works from today through the past 6,000 years making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Midwest. A series of additions and renovations have considerably altered the building over its 130-year history allowing accommodations for a larger permanent collection and major special exhibitions.
See Van Gogh
The Cincinnati Art Museum is the only place in Cincinnati where you can see an original Van Gogh masterpiece with five paintings by the artist, the most famous being Undergrowth with Two Figures (1890). You’ll be glad you made the trip to see this beautiful painting in person.
Be sure to visit the newly renovated Cincinnati Wing. It is the first permanent display of a city’s local art history in the nation. This wing houses 15 galleries and includes works by Cincinnati artists from the 1840s through today, including Frank Duveneck, Rookwood Pottery, Robert Scott Duncanson and Mitchell and Rammelsberg. If you want to dig deeper, the museum also offers lectures sharing more about Cincinnati history and the artwork it inspired.
Perfect Family Destination
The cultural fun isn't just for adults. The Rosenthal Education Center inside the museum features a myriad of hands-on art activities for families. Filled with art supplies, it's easy for little ones to create the world’s next masterpiece. Kids interact and play with life-sized art in this unique area, and the studio portion contains paper, glue, foil, feathers, bottle caps, glitter and countless other media so children can create their own special work of art. Plus, almost every gallery contains a hands-on exhibit for little ones to touch, learn and explore!
Other opportunities for children include art classes, special tours, kits available for check out, and scavenger hunts. Be sure to ask what is available for your children when you arrive.
The art museum offers both beautiful views of art on the inside, as well as breathtaking views from the outside. Sitting in beautiful Eden Park, the neighborhood is home to Mirror Lake, beautiful overlooks of the city, sculptures and statues, a playground, and several gardens. And don't miss a photo opp with the giant statue of Pinocchio that greets you when you arrive at the museum. The Krohn Conservatory and Playhouse in the Park are also located within Eden Park in close proximity to the museum. Pack a picnic, take a stroll, and enjoy the scenery when visiting the museum.
If you want to learn a little more about the artwork on display, take a daily guided tour of the collections. The museum's website and Facebook page have the most up-to-date information on tours and local programming. No need to make a reservation for tours, just arrive at the start time (Note: Tours have been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions). There are also studio classes, sketching tours and many other classes available if you want to try your hand at creating your own masterpiece (check website for availability, some sessions may be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions).
It's not all old artwork here! Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection contains the most contemporary art in Cincinnati. Come see the work that artists of our day are creating.
The world-class African art exhibit reopened in 2016 after being closed for remodeling. Much of the African art was purchased in 1890, making the Cincinnati Art Museum one of the first to acquire a major collection of African art. The museum also contains one of the oldest Asian art collections in the United States with 5,000 objects from India, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Tibet spanning over 5,000 years in history.
The museum is recognized internationally for its impressive collection of decorative arts and design including almost 7,000 works like furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork and architectural design dating from the 17th-century to the present. Did you know you could find photography at an art museum too? Photography was first displayed in the museum in 1896 and the collection includes these early works as well as more modern photography.
Free Admission & Parking
Thanks to a grant from the Richard and Lois Rosenthal Foundation, admission and parking for the museum is free. This makes it easier to open up the art to everyone in the community and to visitors on a budget. The museum keeps its doors open until 8 pm on Thursday. On Thursdays, you can also receive free access to special exhibits from 5 to 8 p.m., making it a perfect time for both adults and families to visit the museum.
* Advanced online registration is currently required to visit the museum due to limited capacity for COVID-19 restrictions.