Rarely seen photos on display at Cincinnati Museum Center as part of FotoFocus Oct. 8

Celebration of photography and video also includes newsreels and infrared photo activity

CINCINNATI – The history and science of photography are on display this Saturday at Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) as part of FotoFocus’s 2022 Biennial program week. CMC’s Witnessing History displays rarely seen photographs from 19th-century Black photographers, original newsreels from the 1930s and 1940s and offers an opportunity to create your own photograph using infrared photography. All activities are included with Museum Admission on Saturday, October 8.

Arabeth Balasko, CMC’s curator of Photographs, Prints and Media, will share a collection of recently discovered and conserved images of African American families from 1863 to 1900. The photos include tintypes, carte de visites and cabinet cards, including some taken by 19th-century photographers John Presley Ball and Alexander S. Thomas. Fittingly, the display will be arranged outside the Ball & Thomas Daguerrean & Photographic Studio on the Public Landing of the Cincinnati History Museum.

Ball was a celebrated African American photographer in the mid-1800s, opening his first studio in 1845 in Cincinnati. After working briefly as a traveling photographer, he opened a daguerreotype gallery in downtown Cincinnati which became one of the most well know galleries in the country. In the 1850s, he hired Alexander S. Thomas to work with him, becoming a full business partner in 1857. Independently, they were two of the most sought-after photographers in the city. Ball and Alexander also worked with another prominent African American in his studio, artist Robert S. Duncanson, who retouched some of Ball’s portraits and colored photographic prints.

CMC is also activating its historic Scripps Howard Newsreel Theater. Through the month of October, you can experience newsreels from the 1930s and 1940s just as passengers in Union Terminal would have: in snappy black-and-white footage projected onto a screen from the comfort of red-upholstered chairs. The selection of newsreels from CMC’s collections includes news about World War II, the Cincinnati Reds, Union Terminal and more.

Photography also looks to the future. In CMC’s History in the Making Classroom, you can try infrared photography as you create a still life photo or self-portrait that you can take home. The History in the Making Classroom is located in the Cincinnati History Museum. The infrared photography activity is included with admission and will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CMC’s Witnessing History displays are part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record. Now in its sixth iteration, the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial activates over 100 projects at participating venues across Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, and features more than 600 artists, curators and participants – the largest of its kind in America. The World Record theme considers photography’s extensive record of life on Earth, humankind’s impact on the natural world and the choices we now face as a global community.


About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized, award-winning institution housed in a National Historic Landmark. CMC is a vital community resource that sparks curiosity, inspiration, epiphany and dialogue. CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012, one of a select few museums in the nation to receive both honors. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, Cincinnati History Library and Archives and the Geier Collections and Research Center. Housed in historic Union Terminal – a National Historic Landmark restored in 2018 and recognized as the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects – CMC welcomes more than 1.8 million visits annually, making it one of the most visited museums in the country. For more information, visit

About Champion More Curiosity
The $112 million Champion More Curiosity campaign is shaping Cincinnati Museum Center’s future while creating generations of critical thinkers to power the innovation of our region. By Championing More Curiosity and helping build the future of Cincinnati Museum Center, you can fuel the economic prosperity of our region. Champion More Curiosity will build or reimagine over a dozen permanent exhibits and galleries and equip state-of-the-art labs for cutting-edge research for students from elementary grades to post-docs. Today’s wide-eyed explorers will be tomorrow’s innovators. We work shoulder-to-shoulder to engage our community in monumental moments of epiphany, wonder and connection. As we inspire all generations to learn, grow and thrive at Cincinnati Museum Center, we Champion More Curiosity. Consider making a lifelong impact by donating in support of Championing More Curiosity at