Let us bring history to you!
Cincinnati Heritage Programs has a variety of historical, architectural and cultural audio-visual programs that docents can bring to your organization. Programs last 45 minutes to an hour. Choose from the following topics:
The Planning and Construction of Cincinnati Union Terminal
Learn about the early proposals for a new Union Terminal and the workers involved in the final design and construction of the 287-acre passenger terminal complex. Hear of the many engineering challenges encountered and the 21 other interesting buildings and structures associated with this one-of-a-kind modern train station.
Union Terminal is an Art Deco masterpiece begun just as the 1930s ushered in the Depression. Today this beautiful passenger station is Cincinnati Museum Center, a multi-museum complex. This program will lead you through the building. It will take a closer look at the art and artists of the art deco structure and explore the evolution of this fascinating building.
The Art and Artists of Cincinnati Union Terminal
Learn about the magnificent experiment that led to Cincinnati Union Terminal’s art deco design, as well as to the creation of over 18,000 square feet of public art space. Hear about the artists that created these beautiful art elements and learn about some of the processes these artists used. See images of some existing and some lost art works as well as photos of pieces that may be restored soon. Understand how Reiss, Bourdelle, Hentschel and Keck contributed to making Cincinnati Union Terminal a National Historic Landmark.
Winold Reiss and the Union Terminal Murals
Winold Reiss, already known worldwide for his portraits of the Blackfoot American Indians, was commissioned to design the mosaic murals at Cincinnati Union Terminal. Learn the process he used in this extraordinary project. The presentation will explore his 23 murals, some located at Union Terminal and some at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
A Sentimental Journey with Doris and Rosemary
Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney began their spectacular big band singing careers in Cincinnati. With pictures, stories and the vocal stylings of a local professional singer, take a sentimental journey through the lives of these two great ladies of American entertainment. Ten songs made famous by Doris and Rosemary will be performed live during the presentation. NOTE: Due to additional equipment and personnel needs, A Sentimental Journey with Doris and Rosemary is $120 per presentation.
Amusement Parks in Greater Cincinnati
The ‘thrill’ rides of today’s amusement parks were not the Cincinnati amusement parks of yesteryear. Travel back in time to learn about the swimming beaches on the Ohio River and the trolley amusement parks. Enjoy a stroll through yesterday’s Coney Island and LeSourdesville Lake. Then decide if today’s King’s Island will be the amusement park of the future.
Christmas Memories with Doris and Rosemary
Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney began their spectacular big band singing careers in Cincinnati. With holiday scenes, past memories of Cincinnati’s Christmas traditions and the vocal stylings of a local professional singer, take a Christmas stroll with these two great ladies of American entertainment. Twelve Christmas songs made memorable by Doris and Rosemary will be performed live during this presentation. Important: This program is only available in November and December. It contains several traditional Christian Christmas songs. The docents require access to the room where the presentation will be given one hour in advance of the presentation for set-up of sound equipment. In addition, take-down requires 30 minutes after the presentation concludes. A projection screen or blank light colored and electrical outlets must be available in the facility. Due to additional equipment and personnel needs, Christmas Memories with Doris and Rosemary is $120 per presentation.
Cincinnati’s Musical Heritage
Since its earliest days, Cincinnati has had a reputation for the finest musical societies, minstrels, choral groups, conservatories, orchestras and opera. Hear the story of the growth and development of music in the Queen City and its prestigious legacy that continues today.
Crosley Field Remembered
Relive the memorable 1919 and 1940 Reds World Championships brought to you buy Roush and Lombardi. Experience the excitement of the 1960s again with the arrival of Reds greats Rose, Bench, Perez and Nolan.
Entertainment and Recreation in Early Cincinnati
After the Civil War, Cincinnati became known as the “Paris of America”, a city filled with culture and a variety of entertainment venues. Learn about the surprisingly many ways Cincinnatians relaxed and entertained themselves during these Post Civil War years. Discover how many of our current events and facilities are a direct result of the seeds planted during Cincinnati’s Golden Age. See how Cincinnati’s business and commerce led to many of these treasured events and facilities
Broadcast radio changed the country and the world forever. It was the first mass media where millions of people experienced the same events simultaneously. Radio Waves brings back memories of Cincinnati 's innovative powerhouse WLW, the Nation's Station, other fine stations, programs, and talented performers that entertained and informed generations of listeners.
Golden Age of Television
Explore television’s pioneers such as Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon, the Cool Ghoul and Skipper Ryle who entertained greater Cincinnatians "by the seat of their pants" on live TV.
Cincinnati's Jewish Culture
What prompted the first Jew to choose Cincinnati as his home? Learn about the curiosity he aroused in this burgeoning little town. What caused Jews to be so well assimilated here and become so successful that, by 1850; Cincinnati had the third largest Jewish population of any American city? How was it that Isaac M. Wise came here and made Cincinnati the birthplace of Reform Judaism? Discover some of the treasures Cincinnati’s Jewish community has given not only to the city, but also to the entire world.
Cincinnati's Winter Holiday Traditions
If you enjoy reminiscing about the holidays, come along with us to celebrate the many joyful times and faces of the winter holiday season. You can’t see the holiday spirit, but its there in the many traditions of Cincinnati around this festive season.
Cincinnati's German Heritage (Formerly Over-the-Rhine: Its People and Its Spirit)
The 19th century German settlement in Over-the-Rhine, an area located north and east of the Miami Erie Canal was unique. Here the German society established their own city within Cincinnati reconstructing the culture of their homeland. Churches, shops, schools, building and loans, breweries and other industries were abundant throughout their community, along with beer gardens, singing societies, theater and a Turnerverein (Turner Gym) for recreation. Learn how this lively, crowded close-knit community left a lasting imprint on the entire society of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati and the Miami & Erie Canal
This program covers Ohio’s Canal, concentrating mainly on the Miami & Erie and Cincinnati. Learn about the Ohio’s canals from construction to their final legacy. See several images of structures and buildings that existed THEN and NOW to get an idea of the canal-era. Take a video cruise through a lock.
This presentation tells the unique and exciting story of the rise and fall of Cincinnati’s Inclined Plane Railway. Built in the 1870s, these wonderful lines provided a welcome escape for the crowded basin and opened up the surrounding hills for future development
Jump aboard Cincinnati’s “not so rapid” transit/subway system and find out why and how it got derailed. The remnants, of the never completed system, may still be seen around the city and it remains a topic of transportation studies and voting issues.
Bridging the Ohio New!
In an age of transportation with cars, trucks, and expressways, bridges over the rivers have become essential in our daily lives. Starting with the John A Roebling (Suspension) Bridge and going through the possible replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, this program explores the history of the bridges we have come to rely on to cross the Ohio River.
Delta Queen and Cincinnati's First Family of the River
The Delta Queen is an elegant steamboat loved by many for over 60 years. She was brought to Cincinnati from California by the famous Greene family. Learn the history of the Greene Line Steamer company and why they survived and prospered when others failed. ‘Ma’ Greene was a ‘Petticoat Skipper’ in a riverman’s world. Her husband, Gordon, was the strength and ingenuity of the company; and their son, Tom, was the bold risk taker who undertook the perilous journey transporting the Queen to the Port of Cincinnati.
Ohio River Floods
For most of the time Greater Cincinnati peacefully coexists with the Ohio River. But what happens when Ole Man River leaves its boundaries and becomes destructive? Learn how people in the tri-state area have been affected when major flooding occurs. Why did the early settlers choose a flood plain on which to build their cabins? During the '37 flood, how did the residents cope when industry, transportation and even public utilities were curtailed? Discover what the federal and local governments have done to control flooding, and how that affected our response to the most current floods.
Rollin' on the River
Explore early travel along the Ohio River, and then enter the steamboat era. Cincinnati was second only to Pittsburgh in the construction of steamboats, and the river queens were important to Cincinnati for employment, trade, industry, entertainment and leisure. Learn about the people who traveled, worked and/or lived on the riverboats. Since the water level was so unpredictable, the Ohio posed many problems for riverboat travel; there were collisions, fires, explosions and other tragedies. The river is still important for Cincinnati’s commerce and the city is a port of call for the authentic steamboats that still travel the western waters.
Steamboats and the Queen City
Come and join us on an excursion to find out about the impact of steamboats in the United States. Learn what conditions contributed to the “perfect storm” that allowed steamboats to have such a great impact on Cincinnati in particular, and the entire United States west of the Appalachian range. Learn about the features of steamboats that made them unique and the unusual conditions that made these distinctive characteristics so necessary. Hear of the accommodations for passengers who travel first class, and those who travel coach. You may be surprised at the differences that existed on 19th century steamboats. Find out about the only war in which the steamboats played a significant role, the US Civil War, and the use of Cincinnati’s own steamboats and their contribution to the war effort.
Caroline Williams - Then and Now New
Caroline Williams possessed a talent that allowed her to share her love of Cincinnati with countless people. She could draw. And for nearly five decades her sketches of "A Spot in Cincinnati" appeared on the Sunday editorial pages of The Cincinnati Enquirer. She sketched bridges and buildings, homes and hospitals, museums and monuments, as well as parks, cemeteries, statues, fountains, viaducts, inclines, churches, libraries and markets. In this presentation, many of her sketches will be viewed and discussed along with photographs of the sites she sketched.
A Day in the Parks
Visit some of the more than 100 parks and green spaces developed in the city of Cincinnati for the health and enjoyment of its citizens. View the architecture and art in such diverse places as the city’s first park, Piatt Park, to its latest gem along the riverfront, Smale Riverfront Park.
Cincinnati Public School Paintings
Hear the story about how a group of Hughes High School girls turned collecting pennies and nickels into a priceless collection of paintings for several Cincinnati Public Schools. Learn how The Art League of Cincinnati supported this Cincinnati Public School Art project. See gorgeous images of the 90 paintings still available and stored at the Cincinnati Art Museum and Cincinnati Museum Center. Learn about the artists that created these paintings, most of whom were either from or studied in Cincinnati.
Golden Age of Cincinnati Artists
The Golden Age of Cincinnati artists was from 1840 to 1900. Many of the local Cincinnati artists founded Art Schools and Art Clubs, were internationally known, and influenced other notable artists around the world. This program explores the personalities, art work and homes of several of Cincinnati’s early artists.
This program presents the history of the pottery – its development, decline, and resurgence. Some of the pottery’s important glaze lines are shown along with some of the outstanding art pottery decorators. Discuss and view examples of Rookwood Faience decorative architectural tiles that can be found in Cincinnati and throughout the United States.
The Early Years - 1800-1860 New!
A visitation to early structures around the Cincinnati area, with comments on different architectural styles and their relationships to the community as growth and industry developed. Many places of worship and other significant structures in the basin and outskirts of the community are addressed. The relationships between commerce, European immigration, and the cultural influences on the design and utility of those structures create the foundation for our city as we know it today.
Style and Beauty in the Victorian Age – 1860-1895 New!
From the 1860s through the end of the 19th century, Cincinnati's influential and prominent people and organizations built many of the most beautiful buildings and public places the city has ever seen. They made a strong case that Cincinnati was “The Paris of America” - an attractive place to live, offering a high level of culture and entertainment. Today's residents and visitors to the city are very fortunate that many of these beautiful Victorian era designs have survived to thrill us.
The Age of Steel During the Turn of the Century - 1895-1920 New!
The turn of the 20th Century marks a significant transition in the evolution of building architecture. The development of the steel skeleton enabled architects to re-invent the office building with previously unimaginable height. This new skyscraper required a bold exterior design to exhibit its importance, yet still reflect the roots of a classical design. We will see this new design in several of the buildings on Cincinnati's Fourth Street. In addition to skyscrapers, the new century brought forth the Beau Arts architectural style -classical, yet beautifully proportioned and highly ornamented buildings, such as Cincinnati's Memorial Hall, the Gwynne Building, and Carnegie libraries.
The Roaring Twenties and Depression Era - 1920-1940 New!
1920's architecture in Cincinnati and the nation reflected the unbridled optimism of the post WWI era. This optimism is exhibited in the classical design of the Dixie Terminal, Cincinnati Club, and Gas & Electric buildings. Art Deco, a bold forward looking fusion of art and industrial design, took the forefront in the late 1920's-1930's with the iconic designs of the Carew Tower, Union Terminal, Enquirer, and Times Star buildings. This mega-construction period helped to lessen the depth of the Depression for Cincinnatians. Depression era construction consisted primarily of government buildings, including the Federal Court House and Lunken Airport.
Arthur St. Clair and the Northwest Territory
General St. Clair gave Cincinnati its name, and was the first Governor of the Northwest Territory. Given the impossible task of bringing order to this wild land, he gave his life, fortune and health on behalf of his adopted nation. Politics, war and intrigue filled his life until he was dismissed by Thomas Jefferson as Ohio became the first state formed out of this rich territory north and west of the Ohio.
Black Citizens Who Made A Difference in 19th Century Cincinnati
This program encompasses teachers, preachers, artists, scientists, inventors, soldiers, newspapermen, historians and even hairdressers and a Medal of Honor recipient. Learn about Black citizens who made a difference in 1800s Cincinnati - for both black and white citizens. Hear the stories behind some of today’s Cincinnati landmark churches, schools, social organizations, Civil War sites and art legacies.
Appropriate for junior high school students through adults
The Cincinnati Fire Department
This presentation starts with Cincinnati's independent volunteer fire companies which fought both fires and, sometimes, each other. It moves on to establishment of the first fully paid professional fire department in the country. And, along the way, it explores some of what it takes to become one of the top fire departments in the nation.
America's Story from Depression to Super Power
Relive the incredible transformation from depression era despair, through enormous come-back victory of the WWII years, featuring Cincinnati’s contribution to this unprecedented time in history.
Cincinnati During the Civil War
It is late 1862, and a Confederate Army is marching toward Cincinnati. The city is in a panic! Less than a year later, Cincinnati is threatened again - this time by the dashing General Morgan and his raiders. Find out how Cincinnati responded to these emergencies in this fascinating program.
The Cincinnati Story - From 1788 to 1925
They called it the “Miami Slaughterhouse” during the early days of the Indian Wars. Soon it was America's original “boom town” and they proclaimed it the “Queen City of the West.” This program highlights the people and events that have shaped Cincinnati history from the 18th century to the early 20th century.
Historic Hauntings (Formerly Ghosts and Spirits)
This program examines the history of ghost stories and hauntings in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area from the founding of the city right up to the present time. Did you know many older houses, as well as public places have their resident ghosts? Hear the stories of local citizens, both well-known and regular folks, which were and still are affected by the super natural. Learn what haunted places still exist today and where they are. Appropriate for adults.
Sequel to Historic Hauntings
This program is a continuation of the Ghosts and Spirits program. It examines additional ghost stories and hauntings in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Hear how not only houses and public places, but also bridges and railroad tracks, are affected by the supernatural. Learn what haunted places still exist today and where they are located. Appropriate for adults.
Grand Old Theaters of Cincinnati
Do you remember the Grand, Lyric, Keith, Capitol, Cox, Times, and Royal theaters? How about the magnificent Albee, Shubert and the Palace theaters? And did you ever visit the Gayety Burlesque House? We will look back at these fabulous grand old theaters including the buildings and the shows that played there – vaudeville, burlesque, musicals, comedy, stage plays, and movies - focusing on their history from the time they opened until they played their final show with the wrecking ball.
Greater Cincinnati's Veterans' Memorials
Take a patriotic tour of Veterans’ memorials located in the Hamilton County area. The program describes memorials and tributes to military personnel from the Cincinnati area, and includes a brief history of each memorial. The time span covers two centuries, from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War. It is appropriate for groups with an interest in military history or patriotic holiday programs.
National Historic Landmarks
Take a virtual tour with us to 14 sites in Hamilton County designated as National Historic Landmarks by the US Department of the Interior. These are places in our area that have played an important role in shaping America’s history.
Find out how the Temperance Movement and the Anti-Saloon League pushed through the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor in the U.S. Find out why the new law was impossible to enforce and how bootleggers such as George Remus and organized crime flourished over the 10 years that the law was in effect. Learn how the consequences of Prohibition affect our society today.
The Sad, Seamy, Sinister Side of Cincinnati
Serial murderers, grave robbers, epidemics, personal tragedies and even slime are all part of Cincinnati’s history. Spend an hour hearing stories about some of Cincinnati’s most notorious citizens and their nasty deeds. Listen to details about a few of Cincinnati’s saddest stories. Learn how two of Cincinnati’s presidents were victims of ghastly grave yard activities. Tragedies and crime abound in this program. Come prepared to be shocked and saddened. Appropriate for adults.
The Sad, Seamy, Sinister Side of Cincinnati - The Sequel
A maritime disaster, local incline accidents, beheadings and an infamous riot with fatalities are all part of Cincinnati’s history. Spend an hour listening to more stories about some of Cincinnati’s most notorious and ghastly happenings. Hear first- hand descriptions of the city’s seamy and sinister side from a local reporter who would later become a world renowned author. Once again, come prepared to be shocked and saddened. Appropriate for adults.
The Story of Northside
Learn of Cincinnati’s oldest suburb settled by pioneer surveyor Israel Ludlow. Ludlow built the first blockhouse on this land and soon was followed by many other settlers. The neighborhood developed into retail and industrial center as well as the home site for wealthy Cincinnatians. Suffering a decline after World War II, it began to emerge as a revitalized neighborhood today.
20th Century Cincinnati
During the 20th century, Cincinnati moved from one of the worst governed cities to one of the best, from a city that just grew, to one that had a plan, from a river city to a highway metropolis. In that time it responded to two world wars, a depression, and the response to a changing world economy. This picture tour shows some of the changes as the city moved through these events, some of our celebrations, some of the city’s changing face, as it became center of the metro area.
Up & Away to Mt. Auburn
Mt Auburn was Cincinnati's first hilltop suburb where the wealthy 19th century citizens lived above the city's crowded basin. This was the birthplace of William Howard Taft and home of two Ohio Governors. William H. Doane, industrialist, hymn writer, and collector of musical instruments lived here and his collection is now at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church has beautiful Tiffany windows and the interdenominational God's Bible School and College has its home on Mt. Auburn, as well as one of the last existing Cable Car Barns.
Cincinnati Style Chili
One of the most interesting local success stories of American Immigrants is that of Cincinnati Chili, the culinary delight that means home to many Cincinnatians. The story of the families who developed this epicurean delight is filled with mystery, as they develop their companies and hold close the recipes that are uniquely their own. Hear of the more famous companies and as well as lesser known Chili Parlors in the area.
Do Pigs Fly? The Story of Porkopolis
Cincinnati was once known by the nickname of “Porkopolis.” Visitors to the city often had to walk down streets that were crowded with pigs being herded to the city slaughter houses. Pigs slaughtered in Cincinnati not only fed our country but also helped to revolutionize the country’s industries. From pig pens to dinner plate, learn how “pigs” helped to build Cincinnati.
Wooden Shoe Hollow
They came from Westphalia, Germany over a century ago, but these "Inwanderers" did not go "Over the Rhine," instead settled across the Mill Creek. They were gardeners and truck farmers and for nearly 100 years sold their produce in downtown Cincinnati markets. They lived together in a fertile hollow north of Spring Grove Avenue and Winton Place, where many of their greenhouses can still be seen. The group carried on the tradition of wearing wooden shoes in their gardens, worshiping in their German Church and dancing on Saturday nights to the music of their homeland. This program presents their history from the mid-1850s to the present.
The Story of Bourbon
This is a two-part presentation. The first part is the story of bourbon and how it fits into the history of liquor in the United States. In the second part, we will use pictures and short videos from Kentucky’s famous distilleries to explain how bourbon is manufactured.
Frontier and Early Education
Along with the hardships of the frontier, it was a priority that children of pioneers were taught the three “Rs”—readin’, 'riting and 'rithmetic – by the family hearth or in the one room schoolhouse. In the early 1800s, through community effort, Cincinnati created several schools making it the first to have public schools in the Northwest Territory.
The Rise of Public Schools
In 1825, the State of Ohio passed a law for a half-mill tax to be collected to pay for public schools. That led to the establishment in 1829 of “The Common Schools of Cincinnati.” Hear how, prior to the Civil War, the city’s African-American residents successfully moved to create their own, separate, public school system. Find out about the "Bible Wars" that impacted public schools.
Parochial and Private Schools
Hear about the establishment of private, Catholic, Jewish and other independent schools in Cincinnati including the growth of early Irish and German speaking schools. Styles of teaching and enrollment in the private schools will also be discussed.
University of Cincinnati
Hear the story of the bequest from Charles McMicken in 1870 that was the foundation that created the University of Cincinnati. While we know UC today as a large state-owned national research university, many of its best known colleges began in the 19th century as independent schools, reflecting the educational strengths and needs of a growing and diverse population.
The Rise of Colleges and Universities
Since Cincinnati’s founding, its expanding and varied population has had a need for a variety of institutions of higher learning beyond secondary schools. Explore some of the diverse colleges and universities, other than the University of Cincinnati, that developed to answer this expanding public request.