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Go Behind The Scenes Of Union Terminal Renovation

Tana Weingartner
Workers remove some piping in a former classroom space at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The Cincinnati Museum Center's Children's Museum is open once again after a brief closure. The temporary shutdown was part of the ongoing Union Terminal renovation.During a behind-the-scenes tour Thursday, museum and construction officials outlined what work is currently underway, starting with why the facility needed to close.

See what the Union Terminal fountain looks like behind-the-scenes.

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
This new electrical switchboard means employees only have to flip one switch to turn power on and off, rather than many switches throughout Union Terminal.

"Last week was a major milestone for the project," says Senior Project Manager Steve Swisher. "replacing the existing electrical switchboards with the new system." He adds that the project took a little bit less time than had been expected.

"This turns the entire house power on and off with one switch," explains Swisher. Museum Center CEO Elizabeth Pierce adds, "As opposed to (multiple switching) people had to do all over the building previously."

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
The exhibits are in storage and the walls are coming down inside the Natural History Museum.

All of the exhibits in the Natural History and Cincinnati History museums have been removed. Walls in the lower spaces are being ripped out in order to create new classrooms, exhibit spaces, and a new lower-level lobby.

The upper, ramped portions of the two museums that flank the main rotunda make it easier to imagine what the space looked like in it's heyday as a bustling train station. The ramps originally existed to allow buses and cars to drive through the terminal. Red and green light fixtures high on the walls lining the ramps once let drivers know if they were going the right direction.

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
It's easier to imagine buses coming up this ramp now that the Pathways to Change exhibit has been removed.

"When the exhibits were here you could still see all of this" says Project Architect Pat Moore, waving his arm around the open ramp space. "But for me personally, with all the exhibits removed I really get the feeling of how the buses and the cars and the taxis would have worked back in the day."

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
A construction worker uses a pressure washer to clean years of dirt and decay from Union Terminal's limestone exterior.

Some of the most obvious work is being done outside the building. The building's limestone is getting a thorough chemical cleaning to remove decades of dirt, biological growth, and calcification. Some repair work is needed along the joints and where acid rain has caused the limestone to begin turning to gypsum.

"That work will continue to march around the outside of the building for the next several months," says Pierce.

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Two construction workers go over plans in the Museum Center's boiler room. Renovation plans call for new HVAC systems.

See For Yourself

The Museum Center is offering similar behind-the scenes tours to the public one Saturday a month. There are three 45 minutes tours on each day they're offered. The tours are part of the CMC's Heritage Program.


October 29, 2016

November 12, 2016

December 10, 2016

January 14, 2017

February 11, 2017

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
A temporary lobby is in place at the front of the rotunda. Here's what it looks like behind the wall.