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Insights Lecture Series


Cincinnati Museum Center's Insights Lecture Series features local and national experts speaking on a variety of subjects chosen for their relevance and their ability to spark insight and dialogue. All lectures are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, and most are livestreamed online on Museum Center's Ustream channel.

2014 Lectures

Thursday, April 17: This is Your Life: 60 Years and Counting - Transmitting the Lessons of the Holocaust Through One Family’s Story

Tuesday, June 24: Harlem's Rattlers & the Great War

Thursday, July 31: Maria Longworth Storer: A Woman of Power and Influence

Thursday, April 17
This is Your Life: 60 Years and Counting - Transmitting the Lessons of the Holocaust Through One Family’s Story

Lecturer: Julie Kohner
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17
Where: Reakirt Auditorium

In Collaboration with the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education

In 1953, Ralph Edwards, a television personality, took a courageous step and introduced the story of a Holocaust survivor on the popular program he hosted, This is Your Life, the most  watched television show of its time. This was only eight years after the end of World War II when people, including survivors, hardly spoke about their experiences at home, let alone on national television.

This presentation introduces you to This Is Your Life and particularly, the woman who appeared on national television on May 27, 1953: Holocaust survivor Hanna Bloch Kohner, the mother of presenter Julie Kohner. The original television episode will be shown during the discussion.

After the video presentation, Ms. Kohner continues the discussion with an update of the lives of those who appeared on the show, how the show came to be, artifacts from the show and life after the show, with questions and answers. A book signing will follow at end of the program.

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Tuesday, June 24
Harlem's Rattlers & the Great War

Lecturers: Jeffrey T. Sammons & John H. Morrow, Jr., authors of the new book Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24
Where: Reakirt Auditorium

In collaboration with the University of Cincinnati

Listen as Sammons highlights Ohio’s important but little-known connection to the 15th New York National Guard/369th U.S. Infantry Regiment through the "The Original Ohio Players." Find out more about Charles W. Anderson, one of Booker T. Washington's most trusted operatives and native to Oxford, Ohio. And learn about Captain Charles Ward Fillmore, born in the Xenia/Springfield area and perhaps the person most responsible for the existence of the 369th Regiment.

Then hear Morrow recount stories from the 369th Regiment in France in 1918, also known as Harlem’s Rattlers. First working as laborers in the American Expeditionary Forces, the Regiment transferred to the French army and worked as frontline combat soldiers. A book signing will follow the lecture.

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1913-Style Dinner

When: Tuesday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Cincinnati Dining Room

Join Sammons, Morrow and scholars from around the world for a three-course, 1913-style dinner. Participants from University of Cincinnati’s Summer Institute, World War I and the Arts: Sounds, Sights, Psyches, will be there and ready to discuss WWI topics. The meal includes Grape Fruit Salad, Tourte Au Poulet, Fresh Strawberry Shortcake and a cash bar.  

Dinner is $40 Members, $45 non-Members. Reservations required. Reserve your spot with payment online or call 513-287-7001.

Thursday, July 31
Maria Longworth Storer: A Woman of Power and Influence

Lecturer: Colonel Constance J. Moore
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31
Where: Reakirt Auditorium and on Ustream

In collaboration with Ursulines of Cincinnati at St. Ursula Academy

When people hear the name of Maria Longworth Storer (1849-1932), they usually think of Rookwood Pottery. This presentation tells another story about a woman who constantly pushed beyond the social boundaries of her time, leaving a lasting impact on local and national politics, as well as the social policies of the Catholic Church.

Maria was a fervent patron of the arts and pioneering philanthropist who funded a free pediatrics hospital, daycare center, and healthcare team for the Home of the Friendless. She provided scholarships for talented artists for training locally of in Europe. She was an expert fundraiser for civic causes including the Cincinnati May Festival and the Zoological Center, and she invested much of her wealth in municipal improvements.

When Bellamy, her husband, was elected to the House of Representatives, Maria had rollicking discussions at her dinner table concerning Progressive Era issues, with dynamic men such as Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Henry Adams. She had the ability to draw the dynamic men into spirited discussions about issues of the day.

After Bellamy joined the diplomatic service, Maria influenced negotiations following the Spanish American War. She advised the Secretary of State about political concerns in several European governments. During World War I, Maria bravely sought clarification of the Red Cross entrance requirements so religious sisters could participate in nursing efforts required by the military.

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Previous Lectures

Breaking the Line: A Panel Discussion
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

Who: Sam Freedman, Ken Riley, Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D. and Hue Jackson
What: Breaking the Line: A Panel Discussion
When: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Harriet Tubman Theater, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Football was one of the most important arenas for the Civil Rights Movement in the world of sport. The present-day NFL, very much including the Bengals, shows just how much progress has been made, from black quarterbacks to black coaches to black team executives. This panel discussion features several pioneers in the quest for racial equality on the gridiron:

  • Ken Riley, a star defensive back for the Bengals for 15 years, played under the legendary Coach Jake Gaither at Florida A&M, one of the most renowned black college teams.
  • Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D., President of the Freedom Center, helped integrate the football team at Duke University in 1968. Dr. Newsome was one of Duke University’s first African American football players and the first African American to speak at a Duke commencement. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke Divinity School and continued to work at Duke while earning his Ph.D. in Religious Studies.
  • Coach Hue Jackson has several years of coaching experience in college football and the NFL, including four years with USC, one year as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and 12 years as an assistant coach in the NFL, including five years with the Bengals.
  • The discussion will be moderated by Samuel Freedman, New York Times columnist and author of Breaking The Line, which is about black college football and the Civil Rights struggle during the late 1960s.

A book signing of Breaking The Line immediately follows the lecture, which is presented in collaboration with the Cincinnati Bengals and Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

Parking: Several parking options are available around the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Many of our guests choose to park at the Central Riverfront Parking Garage at the Banks. There is a fee associated with this garage. If you choose to park in this garage, we suggest you enter the Freedom Center Garage on Race Street. After you park, please take the elevator or stairs up to the Plaza Level (PL). Upon exiting, make a right heading toward Rosa Parks Street. At the wall, make another right and the Harriet Tubman Theater entrance is on your right-hand side.

The Myths and Truths of Ghost Dogs
Thursday, Jan. 16

Who: Dr. Stanley D. Gehrt, The Ohio State University
What: The Myths and Truths of Ghost Dogs
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16
Where: Newsreel Theater

Urban landscapes continue to increase across much of the world, which presents challenges for the management and conservation of large carnivores. Coyotes have become residents in many metropolitan areas across North America, and they are arguably the most mysterious and feared carnivore in the city.  For the past 13 years, researchers have been uncovering the hidden lives of coyotes in Chicago, one of the most urbanized landscapes in the U.S. 

Results from this project, the largest of its kind, form the foundation of this program, including discussions on how the coyote adjusts to urban life, the ecological role they play in cities, and the implications of their success for people and pets. Over the course of the presentation, we will dispel some of the myths and uncover facts about their lives, and what they mean to us.

Rock Studies
Thursday, Jan. 23

Who: Dr. Kyle M. Straub, Tulane University
What: Rock Studies: A Flawed Record of Earth’s History, But the Best One We Have
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23
Where: Reakirt Auditorium

How do we know what we know about the earth? What does the latest research studying our planet tell us about its history? Join us and Dr. Kyle Straub from Tulane University in exploring the challenges and methods that geologists are currently developing in order to read the grand story of the history of the earth.

Scientifically known as Stratigraphy, the study and research of layered sedimentary rocks on continental margins preserve the most complete record of environmental conditions in Earth’s past. These strata preserve information related to tectonics, sea-level, and climate and if correctly interpreted, could aid our ability to predict the consequences of future climate change.

Unfortunately, we lack a Rosetta Stone for reading this record, and unlocking the wealth of information preserved in stratigraphy has proven difficult. Challenges include the incompleteness of the record and the preservation of patterns that resemble those associated with changing environmental conditions, but which are generated by the internal processes of rivers and deltas. 

Ancient Greece Out of the Dark
Monday, Feb. 3

Who: Professor Irene Lemos, Oxford University
What: Ancient Greece Out of the Dark
When: 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3
Where: Reakirt Auditorium

The site of Lefkandi in Greece has offered much to the archaeology of the Late Bronze and Iron Age Aegean. The amazing discoveries made by teams of British and Greek archaeologists at the site have changed our perspectives of the period from 1200 to 700 BCE. In this lecture, a collaboration with the Archaeological Institute of America, Professor Lemos will discuss the most important discoveries at the site. Under the control of the powerful palace of Thebes but after the collapse of the Mycenaean administration system, the site became one of the key and most important settlements in the eastern Mediterranean.

During the last stages of the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age the inhabitants exploited the beneficial location of the site in Greece and the natural resources of its region. Lefkandi developed into one of the most prosperous and affluent communities of its time. Was this an exceptional site whose wealth and complex social organization was indeed unrivaled or is it because of the modern archaeological research that we can gain a glimpse of one of the lesser known periods in ancient Greece?

Fracking Panel Forum
Wednesday, Feb. 26

7 p.m., Reakirt Auditorium


  • Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, Assistant Professor of Biogeochemistry, University of Cincinnati
  • Dr. Erin Haynes, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati
  • Dr. Robert Chase, Professor, Edwy R. Brown Department of Petroleum, Engineering, Marietta College

Moderator: Mr. Kevin Pape, Gray & Pape Inc.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking," is a method of recovering or extracting natural gas from deep shale formations and has been used since the 1940s. The process of hydraulic fracturing involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and a variety of chemicals into horizontally drilled wells. When this combination of liquids is pumped into the well under extremely high pressure, it fractures the shale and allows the natural gas to flow from the fissures that the sand particles hold open.

Fracking is very common and widely used across the United States, including natural gas wells in Appalachian states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. Several active natural gas wells in Ohio are currently being fracked. As exploration for natural gas continues, future expansion and fracking of natural gas wells in Ohio is extremely likely.

A hotly contested dispute is currently being played out in the public media and courtrooms across the country. One side of the dispute maintains that fracking is a safe, effective and sophisticated method of extracting natural gas that will reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources. The other side describes it as an unreasonably dangerous process that is an assault on the environment and public health. 

Please join our panelists for an informative evening discussion regarding the process of fracking, the implications for the environment and for human health.

Evolution on Islands: The Island Biogeography of East Asia
Thursday, March 20

Lecturer: Herman Mays, Ph.D., Cincinnati Museum Center Curator of Zoology
When: Thursday, March 20, 2014 with special screening of the OMNIMAX® film Journey to the South Pacific at 6 p.m. (buy tickets) and free lecture and Q&A at 7 p.m.
Where: Reakirt Auditorium

Islands are laboratories of evolution. From the Galapagos Islands to New Guinea, the islands of the Pacific Ocean have provided the foundation for our modern understanding of evolution. Comparatively less attention, however, has been paid to the islands of the Eastern Pacific, namely Taiwan and the thousands of islands that make up the nation of Japan. Cincinnati Museum Center Curator of Zoology Dr. Herman L. Mays Jr. has been a key participant in a long-term study of the birds of this region of more than a decade. Part scientific results and part travelogue, you are invited to hear about the exploration of this region by Dr. Mays and his colleagues, its myriad plants and animals and how cutting-edge tools in genetics are helping decipher the history of the region's birds.

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Cocktails with Curators

Have you ever looked at an object and wanted to know more? Do you enjoy learning beyond labels? Experience Cincinnati Museum Center collections in a whole new way by sipping on cocktails while discussing the ins and outs of your favorite artifacts with our curators. Learn more


Brown Bag Lecture Series

Now in its 20th season of lunchtime programs that focus on Cincinnati history, the Brown Bag Lecture Series returns with lectures presented in association with the docents of Cincinnati Heritage Programs.

The lectures, presented in Reakirt Auditorium, are free and open to the public. You're welcome to bring your own lunch or purchase lunch in the Gateway Cafe in the Rotunda, featuring a new menu. No reservations are required, but space is limited.

All lectures take place from noon-1 p.m.

Jan. 27
Blacks Who Made a Difference in 19th-Century Cincinnati

Feb. 17
Taft Family Legacy

March 17
Winold Reiss & the Union Terminal Murals

April 21
Cincinnati’s First Founders

May 19
The Sad, Seamy, Sinister Side of Cincinnati

Sept. 15
Grand Old Theaters of Cincinnati

Oct. 20
Ghosts & Spirits of Cincinnati - Part Two

Nov. 15
Radio Waves

Dec. 15
Cincinnati’s Winter Holiday Traditions