The Duke Energy Children’s Museum is now closed through spring 2018 while the Cincinnati Museum Center undergoes heavy construction and renovation.
Crews work have been restoring and repairing 84 years of water damage to Union Terminal, and that construction activity will soon have a significant impact on public access to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, officials said.
As portions of the Children’s Museum become an active construction zone, Cincinnati Museum Center made the decision to close the area.
“It has been our intention to keep the Duke Energy Children’s Museum open as much as possible through the restoration of Union Terminal, however, this construction activity is more extensive than anticipated and disrupts public access to these spaces,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “While we know this is disappointing to guests right now, this is necessary for future fun in the space as we diligently worked toward securing Union Terminal’s long-term future.”
Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis at the museum will not be impacted by the construction. In addition to a variety of train layouts, the holiday event will include custom LEGO creations.
However, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains will not be on display this season. As crews near the completion of a new gallery for the trains, the 71-year-old track is being carefully disassembled in preparation for the move into the new gallery, museum officials said. The Duke Energy Holiday Trains will reopen in their new gallery for the 2018 holiday season.
The current restoration of Union Terminal is the first full structural restoration in its 84-year history. Eight decades of water penetration have taken its toll on the building, seeping through exterior masonry, according to museum officials.
One area that proved particularly susceptible to water penetration is the plaza in front of the building, which sits above mezzanine and lower level museum spaces below, including portions of the Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum and Duke Energy Children’s Museum. Steel beneath the plaza has been affected by water penetration and requires more extensive work than anticipated. This work will occur above and adjacent to the Children’s Museum.
Cincinnati Museum Center expects this project to be completed in spring 2018.
In 2014, Hamilton County voters overwhelmingly approved a sales tax increase from 6.75 percent to 7 percent for the Cincinnati Museum Center’s renovations.
The complete cost for the renovation is $208,212,000. Fifty-three percent of that cost will come from the five-year tax levy. The other 47 percent will come from donations, historic tax credits and capital grants.