After more than a year of planning, intensive design work and thorough probing and analysis by preservation architects, the real construction work on Union Terminal is underway. The restoration of Union Terminal requires a keen understanding of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and history as modern construction and engineering techniques blend with early 20th century materials and design to save iconic Union Terminal.
What to expect when visiting Union Terminal
Construction is now fully underway! Aspects of your general visit will be different as the work continues and we make sure your visit is still fun and safe.
The front entrance drop off zone has been reconfigured due to scaffolding on the exterior of the building. The new drop off and pick up zone is at the bottom of the fountain. This area is not be covered.
The parking lot on the north side of the building will be available for guest parking. There will be new handicapped spots in this lot.
The temporary lobby construction is complete. You will be able to see the Rotunda for a period of time but must stay on the carpeted area in the front of the Rotunda. You will continue to purchase your tickets at our box office in the same location.
Restrooms will be available in the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and outside the entrance of the Special Exhibit Gallery.
Both the escalators and large elevator that lead down to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and Special Exhibit Gallery will continue to be available for guests.
We will have wheelchairs and strollers available for rent.
There will be food service available on the lower level with limited grab-and-go options.
Public safety and first aid will continue to be available on main level. This will continue to serve as our lost and found as well.
- The cleaning on the aluminum window frames on the front of Union Terminal’s half dome is nearing completion. With the windows removed for cleaning and repairs, the historic frames for the more than 1,200 windows are being cleaned using dry ice blasting. Dry ice blasting is a much gentler process than sandblasting, using the soft, mildly abrasive dry ice pellets to gently clean away dirt, grime and buildup without damaging the soft aluminum.
- Plaster is being reapplied to the ceilings of the ramps of the Cincinnati History Museum and Museum of Natural History & Science. When air handling units were removed from the CHM and MNHS roofs in March, the air diffusers in the ceilings of those areas were also removed. The holes cut to install those air diffusers in the 1980s are being patched using a multilayer plaster process that will match the original plaster.
- Neoprene anti-vibration pads are being installed under three new air handling units in the south mechanical rooms. The pads help prevent damage to the concrete it sits on. Once the pads are installed, crews will begin hooking up the air handling units to new ductwork. In total, 23 new air handling units will be installed throughout the building over the course of the project.
- Roofing repairs are beginning on the south ramp, which is now the Cincinnati History Museum, to prevent any future water penetration. The gravel on top of the roof and the insulation under it will be removed, exposing the clay tile beneath a small section at a time. Waterproofing systems will be applied before the clay tile, insulation and gravel are replaced.
- The Duke Energy Holiday Trains will be moved to their future home in what was previously the Flatboat Gallery of the Cincinnati History Museum. Although the Duke Energy Holiday Trains will not reopen until November 2018, moving them to this new gallery allows crews to make necessary mechanical upgrades in their former space. The new gallery will give guests a bird’s-eye view of the iconic trains and will have additional space for other holiday components, while being more centrally located as guests descend the escalator or elevator to the Mezzanine level just below the Rotunda.
Number to know: 17,500 – As crews carefully disassemble parts of the exterior to treat the steel underneath, over 17,500 original bricks have been salvaged for re-use when those walls are rebuilt. Those 17,500 bricks amount to 35 pallets weighing over 39 tons.
Experiences and areas closed for the duration of restoration:
The Museum of Natural History and Science
The Cincinnati History Museum
The OMNIMAX® Theater
Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Store to Explore Gift Shop
Collector's Gallery Gift Shops
What has been done so far?
Take a 3D tour of Union Terminal’s interior
As teams finalize plans for the restoration of 83-year-old Union Terminal, they’re getting an assist from new technology. A recently completed laser scan of the building produced a 3D model that will be an essential asset for architects and designers as they begin the restoration. Watch this video for a 3D flythrough of Union Terminal and click on the links below to take an interactive look inside the walls of Union Terminal.
Click the links below for more information.
In the News
Museum Center's OmniMax theater closing Monday (July 4, 2016)
Curate My Community: Cincinnati Museum artifacts to move around during restoration (June 22, 2016)
Museum exhibits on display at libraries during Cincinnati Museum Center renovations (June 22, 2016)
Final 6 large murals moving to Duke Energy Center from CVG (May 12, 2016)
Companies Participating in March 25, 2015 Building Tour