Exhibiting impact in our community
Five years ago, Cincinnati Museum Center embarked on an epic journey to transform into a premier destination in the Midwest and one of the truly great cultural centers in the world. The first step in this journey was a complete restoration and repair of Union Terminal, home to Museum Center and a unique architectural gem in our city.
The unprecedented $224 million restoration of Union Terminal was made possible by the Save Our Icons campaign—one of Cincinnati’s most successful levy initiatives to restore the National Historic Landmark. This support reflects the backing of the community. The restoration is now complete, but there is still significant work needed to ensure the interior space and exhibits are of the same world-class quality for which Cincinnati Museum Center is known. With this project comes the need for extensive gallery and exhibit upgrades and a stronger foundation to sustain this work into the future.
Today, we have the opportunity to dream boldly and to accelerate our mission to improve lives and enrich our community. James Zimmerman realized this was an opportunity to step up and to make an impact.
“The first time I was officially involved was when I joined the board in 2015, shortly after the Save Our Icons campaign and at the beginning of the Union Terminal restoration. I was engaged with Cincinnati Museum Center for a long time before that, taking my family to the museum for many years. My law firm also has been involved with Cincinnati Museum Center for a long time, and my colleague Ed Diller is a mentor of mine and encouraged me to get involved personally. I had some knowledge and deep affection for its impact on my family’s life, and for our community, and I felt like I had the ability to step up and support,” said James.
The act of restoring and repairing the National Historic Landmark both enabled and necessitated the reinstallation of permanent exhibitions and the development of new programming. Through the reimagination of exhibit galleries, supporting spaces and interactive programming, Cincinnati Museum Center will fuel limitless wonder, critical thinking and lifelong learning.
“It’s extraordinary,” says James. “A unique moment to be involved with it with the start of the restoration. When I think about how to spend my time in the community, it’s a combination of where do I think I can make the biggest impact and frankly, in part, who the people are. And Cincinnati Museum Center offered the perfect combination.”
As part of the long-term vision, Cincinnati Museum Center seeks to support the newly restored building and bold new exhibit strategy with the resources needed to maximize impact. New exhibits will drive attendance and position Cincinnati Museum Center to be one of the top-visited cultural institutions in the Midwest. Acting as Campaign Chair and through his own personal commitment to the capital campaign, James is making an impact on our community.
“When we think about the community that we live in, Cincinnati Museum Center is a critical community asset in a way that I didn’t fully appreciate. I knew it was a famous old building, but when you see the scale of its impact – the people coming through the building; people coming into the region, driving the economy; experiential learning, in areas of science and history – it’s a unique asset in our region.”