Cincinnati Museum Center has cultivated curiosity and inspired the pursuit of knowledge for more than 200 years


CMC is continuing the legacy of Dr. Daniel Drake, founder of the Western Museum, with stunning exhibitions, new permanent exhibits and an ongoing commitment to bring the world to Cincinnati. Celebrate CMC’s legacy of discovery as we look forward to the next century of innovation and vibrant museum experiences.

In 1818, Dr. Daniel Drake founded the Western Museum Society for “the illustration of our Natural History…as people in our situation have special need of an acquaintance with their productions and resources.” Its first employee was a relatively unknown artist, John James Audubon, who was hired in 1819 as a taxidermist and background painter. During his brief time in Cincinnati, Audubon began his multi-volume masterwork Birds of America, cementing himself as a world-renowned wildlife artist.

After two years of fundraising and collections acquisition, the Western Museum, the predecessor to the Museum of Natural History & Science, opened in 1820, the first public science museum west of the Alleghenies.

For 200 years, CMC has brought the world to Cincinnati, and brought guests closer to the world around them. Today, Cincinnati Museum Center continues to encourage a greater connection with our natural history and emphasizes innovation, research and the persistent pursuit of knowledge. New experiences utilizing our rich collections of more than 3 million objects and new technology ensure a dynamic museum experience for the next generation. CMC is a source of community pride and a regional destination.  It carries on the legacy of leaders like Dr. Drake, Audubon, Hiram Powers, Neil Armstrong and John Ruthven and inspires tomorrow’s biologists, doctors, engineers, historians, artists, leaders and critical thinkers.