Voices - Connections


Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 9:48am

Happy Holidays from the Freedom Center

Just because our fight for freedom is ongoing doesn’t mean we can’t take time out to celebrate and appreciate the blessings in our lives. Often those blessings include being able to give to our children.

One of the greatest gifts we encourage you to give your children this season is the opportunity to experience the rich history our museum offers. With many students being on winter break between now and January, what better way to spend some of their time than at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center? We have many exciting exhibits on display for guests to see such as The Rosa Parks Experience and The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection. We will be open during our regular hours Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. throughout the rest of December 2017. Also, be sure to visit us Monday, January 15 for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as we’re offering guests free general admission.

Guests of all ages will be sure to leave not only learning something new about America’s inclusive community of all peoples, but will also be challenged and inspired to take courageous steps to freedom. Happy holidays from all of us here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.


Will Jones Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 12:18pm

NURFC Holiday Hours

As you welcome family and friends from all over to visit Cincinnati, and the Greater Cincinnati region, to appreciate the many successes and joys life can bring, we hope you also take a moment to reflect on the struggles many have gone through for you to celebrate this time of giving.  

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be closed on Thursday, November 23. We will reopen on Friday, November 24 for regular museum hours from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We encourage you to visit and bring your in, and out-of-town guests to see us as we have much going on.  

Through November 30, veterans get free general admission to the museum. This is our way of saying thank you for the service they have given to our country. If you have not visited in a while, come in to see our newest exhibit, The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection. The exhibit features the largest private-owned collection of African American art, artifacts and documents in the country from Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, spanning more than 400 hundred years of history.   

Guests also have the opporunity to see our permanent exhibits such as The Rosa Parks Experience, and the Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias Learning Lab during their visit. The Rosa Parks Experience, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, is an immersive virtual reality experience that commemorates Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks’ historic demonstration, just four days before the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. The Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias Learning Lab is designed to assist the public in understanding and recognizing bias and other forms of discrimination, as well as to explore recent debates in the realm of implicit bias research. The learning lab is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Procter & Gamble.

We at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center hope you have a fun and safe holiday season whether you’re staying home or traveling. We hope you’ll stop by for a meaningful museum experience with your loved ones over the holidays. #MyNURFC

Will Jones Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 4:19pm

A Recap of Gallery Talk Series: Confederate Flag Heritage vs. Hate

“I know what that flag means,” said a visitor in the crowd at the second of our gallery talk series, The Confederate Flag: Heritage vs. Hate that occurred Saturday, September 30th, 2017.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect with leading this gallery talk. Though I don’t refer to myself as a scholar of the Confederate flag, I have dedicated a majority of my master’s studies to the subject. In graduate school I took on the project of discussing the Confederate flag in public memory, turning it into my capstone thesis. Having given presentations over the debate about the Confederate flag before, I was confident in my knowledge of the subject. However, with the debate about Confederate imagery heating up in the media, I was unsure what type of reaction I would receive from this discussion.

Not only was the crowd on Saturday receptive to what I was saying, they were engaging and vocal on their experiences with the Confederate flag. This was crucial for me because above all else, I wanted to spark a meaningful dialogue with visitors about the flag. What I hoped to gain from this gallery talk was to help people understand why there is a debate about the Confederate flag and the many interpretations associated with this one symbol. What I walked away with was encouragement that regardless how tough the conversation may be, people are ready to have these discussions about current issues we are facing in America today.

Although it may be uncomfortable, I urge you to push yourself to have a dialogue with others about issues that you feel need to be discussed.

    Katie Bramell Researcher National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 5:00pm

Summer Sundays - Final Weeks


The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is the perfect destination for families or individuals to go for a day out while exploring The Banks, or after taking in a church service. With only two Sundays left in our seasonal summer hours, we invite you to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to be inspired by stories of courage, cooperation and perseverance.

As our Summer Sundays come to a close guests are encouraged to take part in the special experiences we have to offer - The Rosa Parks Experience and the “Open Your Mind” Understanding Implicit Bias Learning Lab. The Rosa Parks Experience is an immersive virtual reality experience that commemorates Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks’ historic demonstration in 1955 – only days before the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias Learning Lab is designed to help the public understand and recognize bias and other forms of discrimination.



The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s summer hours continue until Sunday, September 3, 2017 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The museum will also be open to the public on Labor Day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Kelsey Fay

Group Sales Coordinator

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 8:21am

Becoming an Ethical Consumer with Fair Trade


According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 45.8 million slaves in the world today and over two-thirds of those slaves are victims of forced labor. Forced Labor is obtaining and transporting of a person for labor through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. Forced labor is the type of enslavement used across the world to produce many products in our global supply chains. The desire to produce a profit is the largest motivating force behind the institution of slavery.

Fortunately, we as consumers can fight forced labor by shifting the demand of our buying habits to fair trade and survivor-made goods. Fair trade is more than just paying a laborer a fair wage, however. Fair trade is a reciprocal partnership based on mutual respect that allows us to buy the products we love without taking advantage of the people who make them. By educating yourself about fair trade and debunking its myths, you can start to change your buying habits and become a smarter consumer.



Since fair trade clothing and home goods are less accessible to find than fair trade food, for example, here are five ways to build a slave-free closet. By supporting ethical brands, shopping less and choosing better, choosing quality products over quantity, buying vintage or second-hand, and valuing the clothes you have, we hold companies and governments accountable to put people before products.

Additionally, check out our list of many fair trade retailers from EndSlaveryNow.org where you can get started. You can also find your slavery footprint or download our Slave Free Buying Guide, an ethical shopping guide with many suggestions for fair trade products.



Fair trade doesn’t have to be overwhelming! From now on, take small steps such as switching to one or two fair trade products such as fair trade coffee or t-shirts. Additionally, donate your money or time to a fair trade or anti-human trafficking organization, many of which can be found here.   

We hope you join the fight in ending slavery! 

Madeline Anderson


National Undeground Railroad Freedom Center


Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 4:25pm

We cannot and will not be silent or silenced.

We believe in inclusive freedom - all people enjoying rights and privileges of equal number, quality and kind. We stand with the oppressed communities of Charlottesville - and this nation - who are traumatized daily by white supremacy. We cannot and will not be silent or silenced. We condemn racism, hatred, ignorance and violence.

Friday, July 28, 2017 - 3:24pm

Welcome Cincinnati Music Festival Attendees

Whether it’s your first time visiting the Queen City or you’re a long - time resident, the Cincinnati Music Festival welcomes each of you with open arms. Although there will be plenty to do this weekend, we encourage you to stop by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. We have programs that continue to challenge and inspire everyone to take courageous steps today and we want you to be a part of our mission. Those who present their festival tickets over the weekend will receive $2 off general admission.

Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy programs such as our End Slavery Now Freedom Market, An Underground Community: How Blacks Settled in the Historic Village of Glendale and Black in America: Songs of Protest and Freedom. In case your festival plans have you tied up all day Saturday, keep in mind we’re open on Sundays from 11:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. for our Summer Seasonal Hours going on through Labor Day. You can experience permanent exhibits such as our authentic slave pen from Maysville, Ohio, From Slavery to Freedom, Invisible: Slavery Today as well as others.


We thank everyone for taking the time to visit our city this weekend as we hope to see you and wish you safe travels to, and from your destinations. #MyNURF


Will Jones Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator National Underground Railroad Center
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 2:45pm

The Importance of Our Volunteers

The volunteer program at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center allows people the opportunity to contribute to the mission while following their interests.  We want our volunteers to be inspired through their passions and our exhibits.  Their inspiration will reflect on our guests, giving everyone a better experience.  We also want our guests to be inspired by our volunteers.  Guests will take this inspiration back to their communities, making them a better place for all who live there.

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization.  Their role is critical to our guests, and to the advancement of the organization.  They do and accomplish things that no other employee can do.  Without them, many of our guests would not receive the amazing experiences they do. Our mission is to challenge and inspire every guest to take courageous steps for freedom today, and that’s exactly what our volunteers do here at the Freedom Center.  We cannot accomplish our mission without volunteers.

Have you considered becoming a volunteer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?

Check out our interview detailing the volunteer program here.

James Harrington

Interpretative Services Manager

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center



Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:49pm

Why Knowing the Red Flag Indicators of Human Trafficking Is Important

Modern-day slavery does not care who you are, what you look like, or where you come from. It can happen to anyone—any of us—at any given time.

It is estimated that 20-45.8 million people are enslaved in the world today, in every country in the world today, including the United States. Although exact numbers are difficult to pin point, in the U.S. we know that in the past eight years more than 31,600 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline[1].

But what is human trafficking? Is it the same as modern day slavery? In short, yes. The United Nations defines human trafficking as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.” [2] Both the definition of “modern day slavery” and “human trafficking” deal with the enslavement of human beings.

As previously stated—slavery can happen to anyone. Not all enslaved people look one specific way, nor do all traffickers look one specific way. However, there are red flag indicators in human trafficking cases that help people correctly identify victims.  And knowing these indicators do help. In 2016, the National Human Trafficking Hotline found that community members called the hotline more than any other demographic. Out of 26,727 calls made last year, 7,545 of them were placed by members in the community who knew the signs.

So, why am I telling you all of this? On June 10th, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center held See & Say: How to Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking, a training workshop aimed at helping people understand the red flag indicators of human trafficking. We wanted to provide the general public with an introductory training of these warning sings, with the ultimate goal if you see something, you will say something. The idea for the program came after a discussion with the Freedom Center’s curator, Dr. Ashley Jordan, about how a person could receive training on the warning signs of human trafficking. This conversation stemmed from the news report on Shelia Fedrick, the Alaskan Airlines flight attendant who was successfully able to identify a victim of human trafficking on her flight last February[3]. Because of Shelia Fedrick’s knowledge of these critical signs, she was able to help a young girl escape enslavement.

Understanding the signs of human trafficking is one of the easiest ways a person can help fight against slavery—it literally just requires you to be more vigilant and aware in your normal, everyday situations. At the Freedom Center, part of our mission is to “challenge and inspire everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today,” and that is what our See & Say program was all about. Our goal was to educate attendees on the warning signs of human trafficking and encourage “if you see something, say something.[4]” 

Katie Bramell


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

[1] https://polarisproject.org/facts

[2] http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today

[3] http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/flight-attendants-train-spot-human-trafficking-n716181

[4] http://www.endslaverynow.org/act/action-library/read-and-share-these-red-flag-indicators


Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 3:56pm

The Idea Behind the Forgive/Fight Initiative


On July 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm, twenty-seven FORGIVE/FIGHT statements will be read aloud by the eternal flame on our third floor balcony. These statements have been collected over the course of the run of Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu. This is NURFC’s world premiere temporary exhibition showcasing the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela from his early childhood through his fight against apartheid, onto his presidency and beyond.

These statements have been collected from visitors as they exit the exhibit. Each of our visitors have been encouraged after viewing the exhibition to reflect on what they are willing to forgive in their life and what they are willing to fight for. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has had an overwhelming rate of participation in this exercise and we wanted a way to showcase the impact that Nelson Mandela’s life and actions have had on the Cincinnati community.  The idea of reading these important and poignant statements from the hearts of our visitors came from a program at another museum, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago.  The Hull-House Museum performed a mock election last fall for members of their community that were unable to vote in the national election due to legal status, age, past criminal history, etc.  The museum gave voice to their community on important issues that affected them where they otherwise would have had none.  Visitors were encouraged to take a statement left on these “ballots” and read them aloud on a bullhorn from a second story window out into the street.

The NURFC recognized very quickly after the opening of Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu that our own community had very powerful things to say about a range of issues affecting them and our world. We invite you to join us on July 18th , what would have been President Mandela’s ninety-ninth birthday as we borrow the Hull-House Museum’s concept  and we read aloud these statements of forgiveness and resistance. In the spirit of Mandela’s legacy we will read one statement for each of the twenty-seven years Mandela was held in bondage by the fascist government policies of Apartheid.

We sincerely hope you will join us on the afternoon of July 18 as we honor the legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. His courageous actions changed the world. Listen with us as we hear the impact of his work on our visitors and learn what Cincinnatians want to forgive and what we as a community are ready to fight for.


 Jesse Kramer

Creative Director

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center