Freedom Center voted #2 history museum in the country

Press Release
February 23, 2024

Freedom Center voted #2 history museum in the country

Museum recognized as top three museum in USA TODAY's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards for fourth year in a row

CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center faced off against 20 other museums across the country for the title of Best History Museum in the country. Over a four-week nationwide vote, the nationally-accredited museum garnered the second-most votes in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. This was the fourth consecutive year the Freedom Center has finished in the top three. It took home first place last year.

This year, Cincinnati is home to not one but two of the nation’s top history museums as Cincinnati Museum Center’s Cincinnati History Museum finished third in voting.

Photo by Phil Armstrong

“After being voted among the top three history museums in the nation for the fourth year in a row, it’s obvious that these stories matter,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “This is a testament to the relevance of these stories as we continue the freedom journey started by our ancestors, and is a celebration of our community who supports us. To everyone who voted, everyone who has visited and everyone who has supported us in so many ways, you have our continued gratitude.”

Since its opening in 2004, the Freedom Center has shared stories of freedom’s heroes from the era of the Underground Railroad to modern day. It is symbolically located on the banks of the Ohio River, where many enslaved people took their first steps on free soil after self-liberating through the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s. The Freedom Center honors that legacy through immersive, thought-provoking exhibits, programming and films to be a convener of dialogue around issues of freedom, the denial of freedom, systemic racism, implicit bias and modern-day enslavement. During a visit, guests are introduced to freedom conductors including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, John Rankin, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Box Brown, Margaret Garner and the millions whose names have long been forgotten.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Freedom Center is home to the Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias Lab that educates and reveals the unconscious biases that prevent us from being truly inclusive and ways to overcome them. The Freedom Center’s various programming series have expanded conversations on inequities in healthcare, policing, nutrition, mental health resources and more to a national audience through in-person and virtual panel discussions with a range of local and national experts.

The Freedom Center is also in the early stages of developing a new exhibit that will ensure its content remains relevant and continues to share stories that will inform the current and changing dynamics of the ongoing social justice movement.

To ensure its galleries and its stories are accessible to the entire community, the Freedom Center partnered with the Fifth Third Foundation to start Fifth Third Community Days, providing free admission on the fifth and third Sunday each month, plus MLK Day and Juneteenth, through 2026.

“This honor brings national recognition not only to our organization, but to our mission and our city. It further establishes Cincinnati as a tourist destination and a city dedicated to the inclusive freedom our mission embodies,” added Keown. “We hope this award will encourage more people from across the country to experience all our museum and our city have to offer.”

For more information about the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, visit

The full list of USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards can be viewed at


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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