The Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the cultural trips that’s a must when you visit Cincinnati.
Visitors can explore the Cincinnati Art Museum’s wide range of works from professional artists from around the world.
I’m sharing more about the hidden gems inside the museum and tips before you go to help make the most out of your next visit.
This article is written in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum.
How Old is the Cincinnati Art Museum?
The original building for the Cincinnati Art Museum was built in 1886. During that time it was the the first purpose-built art museum west of the Allegheny Mountains nicknamed by the local press “the Art Palace of the West.”
The Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the United States. The beautiful architecture and years of history make it one of Greater Cincinnati’s most treasured cultural assets.
The Collection of Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum
The encyclopedic art collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum spans 6,000 years with more than 73,000 works of art.
The permanent collection consists of European Art, Ancient Art, African Art, American Art, Asian & Islamic Art, and Modern & Contemporary Art in a variety of mediums.
As one of the most comprehensive collections in the Midwest, guests can discover their artistic styles of preference, whether it’s more classic European paintings or more modern contemporary works over three floors of the museum.
There are almost 7,000 works of art in The Decorative Arts and Design Collection that were made between the seventeenth century and today featuring furniture, glass, ceramics, and more.
The museum has over 800 musical instruments that represent over 30 musical cultures on four continents over the span of four centuries. Several pieces are rotated into the permanent collection.
Most of the musical instrument collection is offview but you can view many of the pieces online.
There are more than 100,000 items spanning 6,000 years of human artistic creativity, including decorative arts, fashion, and photography in the Mary R. Schiff Library located on the third floor of the museum.
General Admission is Always FREE for the Cincinnati Art
That’s right! The Cincinnati Art Museum has free admission for all guests, every day, thanks to a generous gift from The Rosenthal Family Foundation.
*Special exhibits may require an additional fee.
Download the CAM’s Digital Guide on Bloomberg Connects
You can enhance your visit with the CAM’s Digital Guide on Bloomberg Connects.
The free arts and culture app features a digital map, video and audio content, behind-the-scenes info about the art and exhibits, and more!
Check Out the Special Exhibitions
The Cincinnati Art Museum has several special exhibitions throughout the year.
Some of the special exhibitions do require an additional fee and timed entry.
For example, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds will be at the Cincinnati Art Museum from June 23–October 15, 2023, that examines Picasso’s lifelong engagement with landscape.
Special Events- Art After Dark
On the last Friday of each month, the Cincinnati Art Museum hosts Art After Dark with the exception of November and December.
This is an opportunity for guests to visit the museum for a special themed evening with cash bars and food for purchase.
An added perk of Art After Dark is that guests can check out special exhibits for free from 5–9 PM each final Friday.
Perks of Visiting the Cincinnati Art Museum on a Thursday Evening
Did you know that admission fees are waived for BOTH general admission AND special exhibits?
This is a great opportunity to save money and visit the museum after typical hours. On Thursday evenings from 5-8 PM, you can see the special exhibition for free.
Guest will still need a timed ticket and they are only available to be picked up from the front desk starting at 4:30 PM on Thursday evenings on a first-come, first-served basis.
Take a Tour of the Cincinnati Art Museum
A tour is a great way to experience some of the highlights in the museum’s extensive collection.
- Public Tour – These free tours are available at select dates and times.
- Accessibility Tour – Free tour available by appointment Tuesday through Sunday, 11AM–5 PM for guests with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Private Tours – These tours are available by appointment for groups of 10 or more. The package tours include lunch.
- School Tours – Free tours are available by appointment for field trips
- Self-Guided Tours– Choose a self-guided tour according to a theme or interest
Teachers and Homeschool Communities have free access to hundreds of lesson plans and guides by museum educators.
*The Sketching Tour is no longer available but you can find more info about sketching guidelines at the museum here.
Create a Personalized Art Hunt from MyCAM
Adults and kids can “choose their own adventure” with a digitized personalized art hunt created by MyCAM.
There are 8 thematic art hunts to choose from for both adults and kids.
Next, guests select 5 works of art in a specific theme and can pick up their printed guide at the front desk.
The guide will show where the pieces are on the map and create prompts to help you engage with the experience.
This is a great way to involve kids in the arts with a personalized experience at the museum.
Art Museum Etiquette
Here are a few basic do’s and don’ts for art museum etiquette.
- Do take your time and explore what interests you
- Don’t touch the art and keep a safe distance
- Do ask a staff member if you want to know more about one of the works of art or programs
- Don’t bring food or drinks into the galleries
- Do take advantage of free recourses available to use during your visit
- Don’t talk loud or take a call on your cellphone
- Do plan on bringing earphones if you plan on listening to the audio guides on the app during your visit
Drink and Dine at the Terrace Cafe
The Terrace Cafe is a great place to enjoy lunch during your visit to the museum. Restaurant patrons can enjoy both indoor and outdoor dining on the east side of the museum.
Terrace Cafe Hours:
- 11 AM- 3 PM – Tuesday- Sunday
- 11 AM- 7:30 PM Thursday
The menu at the Terrace Cafe has salads & light fare, soups, sandwiches, and more.
Make sure that you save room for dessert. I highly recommend the carrot cake if you see it on the menu.
Enjoy a Picnic at the Park at the Cincinnati Art Museum
If you want to create a special date or visit with friends a “Picnic at the Park” is a great way to create a special memory during your visit to the museum.
You can order a picnic and enjoy it on the museum grounds or you can take your picnic to go and enjoy it nearby at scenic Eden Park.
Food and drinks aren’t allowed in the museum galleries but there are plenty of other places to enjoy a picnic on the grounds of the art museum.
What’s Included in the Picnic in the Park Package?
Picnic Packages from the Terrace Cafe include the following:
- A reusable tote bag featuring the artwork In the Park by Frank Harmon Myers
- A custom CAM reusable picnic blanket (note that if not available when you purchase, you will receive a voucher for future pick up).
There are several options to choose from for your Picnic in the Park Package:
- Van Gogh To-Go An array of meats and cheeses, a baguette and crackers, whole grain
mustard, cornichons, fig jam, and two bottled waters or two soft drinks.
- Cassatt Cuisine Bites – Two bags of Grippo’s chips, two granola bars, a hummus platter (three
varieties of hummus, celery, carrot sticks, herbed pita chips), and two bottled waters or two soft drinks.
- Dining with Duncanson – Choice of two entrees (Chicken Salad Sandwich, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, Terrace Club, Cobb Salad, Southwest Salad) each accompanied by Grippo’s Chips, two jumbo chocolate chip cookies, and two bottled waters or two soft drinks.
*Alcohol can be purchased at the time of pick-up for picnics to be enjoyed while on the museum property and cannot be taken off the property to be consumed.
How to Order Your Picnic in the Park at the Terrace Cafe
The Picnic in the Park Packages are available from 11 AM – 3 PM Tuesday- Sunday.
Packages must be ordered 24 hours in advance, by calling (513)-639-2986, and can be picked up at the host stand in the Terrace Café on the first floor.
Check Out A “See Play Learn Kit“
“See Play Learn Kits” are available for families during regular museum hours from the Visitor Services Desk to help make the museum accessible and engaging for kids.
The kits are filled with activities, a map, and tools for the whole family.
One kit is available per family and only the sketchbook and one fidget can be taken home, the rest of the kit is returned before you leave.
*Activity kits are not available during Wee Wednesdays and Family First Saturdays.
Create at Rosenthal Education Center (REC)
The REC space is an incredible area for families to enjoy being creative and use art supplies in a safe and fun environment.
The space is located on the first floor and is open during museum hours.
There are creative prompts, supplies, and ideas to help jump-start your child’s imagination and create their own modern works of art.
Art Related Programs and Events at Cincinnati Art Museum
Check the Cincinnati Art Museum calendar for upcoming events.
- CAM Kids Day, select Saturdays
- Studio Classes, select Thursdays
- REC Reads, First & Third Wednesdays (all year)
- Baby Tours, Third Fridays (all year)
- Rosenthal Education Center (REC), open during museum hours
- 10×10 Teen Art Expo, Spring 2024
- See Play Learn Kits, available during museum hours
- Sensory Saturday, select Saturdays
- Family Storytime and Gallery Walk, select Saturdays
- Create Plus
- Art Together: Art Making for Families with Children Ages 3–5, select Saturdays
- Family Studio: Art Making for Families with Children Ages 6–12, select Saturdays
Famous Paintings at The Cincinnati Art Museum
The museum has an extensive collection of art and these are a few artists/paintings you may recognize during your visit.
- “Whistling Boy” by Frank Duveneck
- “Rocks at Belle-Île, Port-Domois” by Claude Monet
- “Head of a Peasant Woman” by Vincent van Gogh
- “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” by Sandro Botticelli
Can You Take Pictures Inside the Cincinnati Art Museum?
Yes, museum guests can take pictures during their visit if they don’t use their flash for still photography and video on their mobile phones or small cameras/ recording devices.
It’s important to be mindful of other guests and stay at least 3 feet from the artwork.
You can find additional info on the photography guidelines at the museum here.
Enhance Your Visit – Listen to the Art Palace Podcast Before or After Your Visit
Did you know that the Cincinnati Art Museum has a podcast?
Cincinnati Art Museum Shop
The Cincinnati Art Museum Shop is a great place to find an assortment of art-related gifts, decor, and apparel. You can even shop the museum online and opt for curbside pick up instead of paying the shipping fee.
If you’re making a purchase for someone else you can take advantage of the complimentary gift wrapping.
Perks for Cincinnati Art Museum Members
If you choose to become a member of the Cincinnati Art Museum there are a lot of perks including programing and shopping discounts.
Additional benefits include:
- Membership Mornings – Members can visit the museum before it opens to the public, every Saturday and Sunday from 10–11 AM.
- Consult-A-Curator – Twice a year there is a members-only event where you can learn more about artwork from your private collection with expert advice from our curators and conservators.
- Member Openings – Invitations to celebrate exclusive openings to special exhibitions at the museum.
- CAM Friends– exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of permanent collections, visits to private collections and artists’ studios, and special lectures and discussions led by curators and guest speakers
- Reciprocity Membership – Family level and above have access to reciprocal membership benefits for many museums and galleries across the state and country
- Gift Membership– 20% discount on all gift memberships
- Terrace Cafe Discount – 10% discount at the Terrace Café.
What Are the Cincinnati Art Museum Hours?
The Cincinnati Art Museum is open from 11 AM – 5 PM, Tuesday – Sunday. Thursday evenings have extended hours from 5-8 PM.
How Long Should You Plan For Your Visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum?
I would allow at least 2 hours for your visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum.
You’ll want to allow more time if you plan to dine at the Terrace Cafe, take a tour, etc., during your visit.
How Much is Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum?
Parking is free for guests at the museum parking lots. The main visitor parking lot is close to the main entrance.
Accessible parking is available for guests. Guests who need a wheelchair or stroller entry can use the front entrance and the DeWitt entrance.
There are 4 Level 2 EV charging stations that allow up to 8 electric vehicles to charge at once in the parking lot for a fee.
For guests riding a bike in the park, there is a bike rack available.
Exercise on the Art Climb
The Art Climb is 9 stories high with 164 steps, 16 landings, and 4 art plazas. It’s located on the corner of Eden Park Drive and Gilbert Avenue.
This is a great way to get your heart pumping with scenic views that are way better than a stair climber at the gym.
Where is the Cincinnati Art Museum Located?
The Cincinnati Art Museum is located at 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH.
The art museum is in Eden Park, a short drive from downtown Cincinnati.
Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds Ticket Giveaway
I’m giving away 2 pairs of tickets (2 winners) to the Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds exhibit.
The special exhibit will be at the Cincinnati Art Museum from June 23 –October 15, 2023.
Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is a self-guided tour that showcases paintings and sculptures by Picasso from 25 public and private collections across the United States and Europe.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Looking for Additional Art-Themed Adventures Around Cincinnati?
*Indicates the building is a National Historic Landmark
- American Sign Museum
- Contemporary Arts Center
- Taft Museum of Art *
- Cincinnati Music Hall *
- Cincinnati Union Terminal *
- Cincinnati Museum Center
Find more hidden gems around Cincinnati here.