What’s Underway at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?
“We reveal stories about freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today.”
– National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) Mission Statement
Since the Freedom Center opened its doors to the public on August 23, 2004, it's been reaching out to the Tri-State through a variety of ongoing events and programs. "For example," says Eileen Turner, NURFC communications specialist, "our speaker series features prominent artists and authors who discuss a variety of topics from slavery to contemporary issues."
In addition, NURFC's Freedom Community Arts Productions, which is a 26-night series that presents high quality arts experiences for the Greater Cincinnati community that complement the mission and vision of the Freedom Center. Upcoming performances include the School for Creative and Performing Arts and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. The NURFC also hosts many forums, community conversations and Freedom Circles for the public to dialogue and discuss issues impacting Greater Cincinnatians.
The Freedom Center’s young professionals’ group, FreedomYP, hosts a bi-monthly "Freedom of…" Event Series. "The Event Series is our way of opening the doors of the Freedom Center for evening programming which includes special guests, music, food and a cash bar," says Turner.
On designated Freedom Family Saturdays, families can enjoy unique programming, family-oriented, hands-on arts and crafts, interactive activities and music.
NURFC's guided thematic tour, Women of Courage, (available Wednesday through Friday at 1 p.m.) highlights the courage, cooperation and perseverance of more than 20 women who each overcame personal struggles to achieve freedom. Some of the women featured on the tour are Ellen Craft, Harriet Tubman, Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Susan B. Anthony.
These efforts are working, too. As of January, 2007, more than 500,000 guests have visited the Freedom Center, including more than 120,000 school children. Visitors have come from all 50 states and more than 40 countries around the world, according to Turner.
If you haven't been, you must. If you've been before, but not in a while, you should revisit, according to Turner. "Guests should return to the Freedom Center because we now have a changing exhibition gallery, comprised of approximately 3,000 square feet, on the third floor," she adds. "The gallery enables us to display larger-scale exhibits throughout the year."
She encourages all people, of all ages, races and cultures to visit the Freedom Center because "through the exhibits and various programs, we offer lessons and reflections on the struggle for freedom not only in the past, but in the present. The fight for freedom continues today, in the U.S. and all over the world. The Freedom Center helps guests discover the power of one voice."
Go to www.freedomcenter.org to learn more about programs and events at the Freedom Center.