Well today we got some National Attention Im sure more is to come as Aug. 23 approches...........
Slavery's horror and freedom's promise
By Jayne Clark, USA TODAY
Cincinnati's new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center sports interactive displays, an environmental theater and the assorted bells and whistles expected in a 21st-century museum.
But what's likely to grab visitors' initial attention is a 171-year-old slave pen that has been re-erected within the $110 million complex. The "pen," which resembles a small, two-story log house, was found on a Kentucky tobacco farm, where it had been built as temporary quarters for slaves destined for sale at points south. The rough-hewn 20-by-30-foot structure is the facility's crowning icon, and it stands as a stark testimony to what those traveling this 19th-century slave route were seeking to escape.
A decade after it was first proposed, the 158,000-square-foot Freedom Center opens Tuesday (the official dedication is Aug. 23) on the north bank of the Ohio River and at the heart of a 200-mile stretch used by fleeing slaves known as the "freedom corridor."
But the Freedom Center is more than a museum. Executive director Spencer Crew likens it to other "cultural institutions of conscience," such as Washington's Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"It (the Underground Railroad) is only part of a larger story and we're very much interested in talking about that larger story," Crew says. "We see our niche as looking at issues of human and civil rights. How do we as citizens of the U.S. and the world (preserve) freedom and help others enjoy it?"
Which is not to say the facility doesn't share characteristics with more conventional museums. It exhibits Civil War artifacts, shackles and anti-slavery publications, for example. But because of the clandestine nature of the Underground Railroad, which refers to the network that shepherded thousands of slaves to freedom, few artifacts remain.
"It was very secretive, so there isn't a lot of tangible evidence," says Rita Organ, director of exhibits and collections. "But it's not difficult to tell the story without the tangible items."
Much of the focus is on the personal stories of people who passed through and the anti-slavery activists who aided them.
Among the highlights:
•Brothers of the Borderland, a film that commemorates local abolitionist heroes in an "environmental theater" with piped-in natural sounds, trees and mist to replicate a rural nighttime setting.
• "From Slavery to Freedom," a more traditional exhibit featuring artifacts, timelines and the stories of hundreds of participants.
• "Escape! Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad," an attraction designed for children ages 3 to 8.
Initial opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way in Cincinnati, is Tuesday.
Official opening ceremonies are Aug. 23. Timed tickets can be booked online beginning Sunday at freedom center.org/tickets. Cost is $12 for adults; $8, ages 6-12.
Some same-day passes are available during center hours, 11 a.m. tro 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Information: 877-648-4838