Hidden Gem: Rosenthal Education Center at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Art museums are magic. Is there anything better than wandering through a gallery, revisiting favorite pieces and dropping in on new exhibits? (No. No there isn’t.)

However, while art museums and gallery spaces make for great adult adventures, as a young one (and, ahem, parent of a young one), being on your best behavior in a public space with priceless works of art can be stressful. Thankfully the Cincinnati Art Museum has always been a welcoming space for families to explore art and creativity by offering drop-in, family focused activities.

A couple of years ago, the Rosenthal Education Center (REC) at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) opened. Located on the first floor of the museum, the REC is a family-focused studio space where kids of all ages can explore art through hands-on experience.

The REC offers a focused theme that rotates a couple times each year; right now, the “Girl Power” theme is a kid-friendly accompaniment to the Women Breaking Boundaries exhibit. Girl Power celebrates women artists represented in the CAC’s permanent collection in a hands-on, family-friendly way, featuring famous female artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Lorna Simpson and Maria van Oosterwijck.

In the spirit of this theme, kids can contribute to a collaborative “quilt” project in the REC, create artwork inspired by artists, read feminist inspired stories and much more.

The REC is as accessible for families of all ages; there’s a comfy toddler area where little cruisers can explore, and lots of nearby stations for older siblings to enjoy more age-appropriate experiences. The CAM was truly thinking of families with the REC.

In addition to just being a really cool space, another benefit to starting your museum visit at the REC is that it gives the kids a chance to settle in a bit. You can play and learn, and then take that experience into the main galleries where can then relate what we experience and explored in the REC to the art in the galleries. It’s also a great opportunity to unwind a bit after a car ride and ‘reset’ the mood before venturing out into galleries.

The best part? Admission to the REC is totally and completely free! Though donations are always welcome, there is no cost to park and no cost to enter the museum or the or the REC. The REC is just another example of what makes the Cincinnati Art Museum such a local gem.

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