The Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati Museum Center’s oldest predecessor institution, has its roots in the very earliest days of the city. It’s also one of the three museums that make up Cincinnati Museum Center.

Museum of Natural History & Science today

The Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center offers a world of science, history and nature through interactive exhibits and amazing artifacts. Guests can reach their own “ah-ha” moment through creative thinking and problem-solving skills. With something for all ages, there’s always more to explore in the Museum of Natural History & Science.

Creating monumental educational experiences is what makes Cincinnati Museum Center unlike any other museum, and we know that the most effective educational experiences spark interest through fun. The Museum of Natural History & Science inspires wonder and teaches basic principles of science, while also highlighting our active role in groundbreaking research. By connecting science and history, the Museum of Natural History & Science inspires the next generation to keep asking questions so that we can find tomorrow’s answers.


Just thirty years after the founding of Cincinnati, physician and scientist Daniel Drake founded the Western Museum in 1818 and hired naturalist John James Audubon as its first employee. In 1835 Drake established the Western Academy of Natural Sciences, incorporating the collections of the Western Museum. After the Civil War, this organization evolved into the Cincinnati Society of Natural History. The Society continued to grow in sophistication, adding to its collections and expanding its staff.

After nearly a century as a tenant in various downtown buildings, the museum moved into its own home on Gilbert Avenue in Eden Park in 1958. Here it distinguished itself by creating a widely-adopted educational program where hundreds of museum exhibit cases rotated through the Cincinnati public school system, reaching thousands of students weekly in their classrooms. Attendance and membership continued to grow until the museum moved to Union Terminal in 1990. Today it attracts more than 1.5 million guests every year.

Museum of Natural History & Science Exhibits