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Over-the-Rhine Museum gets national grant, plans its future

Over-the-Rhine Museum
Posted at 11:38 AM, May 23, 2022

CINCINNATI — The Over-the-Rhine Museum is one of four recipients of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, which provides $75,000 to help plan the museum's future.

The money will be used to create a plan for the museum's next decade, according to director of museum administration Donna Harris.

"We're creating an interpretive plan, which is really kind of a roadmap for the museum on how we tell all these different stories, connecting them to the bigger stories of the United States," Harris said.

The Over-the-Rhine Museum has operated for years wherever it could - with walking tours and speakers and events. Now, it is starting rehab on a building on West McMicken at Findlay Street.

There are signs on the outside, describing some of the 132 families who lived in the two buildings. Eventually, those stories will be told inside the historic building, with recreations of those families' apartments and hands-on exhibits, modeled after New York's Tenement Museum.

The NEH Historic Places grant will help fund bringing neighborhood leaders, humanities experts, and researchers together to build out what the physical museum will look like on West McMicken.

"You'll be able to see what it was like in 1860, or 1935 when an Appalachian family may have lived here; African-American families lived here probably well into the 80s," said Harris.

Beyond the money, the OTR Museum is grateful for exposure and a sense of confirmation.

“It’s hard to explain how excited we are about this grant,” said Rob Gioielli, chair of the museum’s board of directors, in a news release. “Not only will this help us launch the vital next phase of our project, but recognition from the NEH validates the importance and quality of the work we are doing.”

Physical changes could come to the outside of the building by the end of the year, Harris said. That includes replacing the front doors and windows and opening them to show exhibits on display inside.