Current Exhibitions

Securing timed tickets in advance is recommended. Walk-ins will be accommodated as available. On Sundays in December, timed tickets are required.

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Picturing the West: Masterworks of 19th-Century Landscape Photography
October 22, 2016–January 15, 2017 | Fifth Third Gallery

As the population of American settlers on the Western frontier exploded during the second half of the 19th century, so did the development of photography. The public craved images of America’s untamed territory, and intrepid photographers showed them what the rugged land looked like. They captured natural wonders, such as sweeping canyons and plunging waterfalls, and manmade marvels like railways and mining structures as well.

The 41 photographs in Picturing the West can be viewed as documentation, as art, and as promotion. The photographers presented America’s natural splendor in a way that was accepted as scientific and factual, but they also constructed a vision of the West as a land ripe for development, exploitation, tourism and, in some cases, preservation. Several of the photographs record major features of America’s first national parks; the exhibition, in fact, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

The photographs are large for that time—most are printed from the approximately 18-by-22-inch glass negatives called “mammoth plates.” All are by noteworthy photographers of the period, included Eadweard Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, and Carleton E. Watkins. Picturing the West provides a unique opportunity to compare different approaches to photographing the grandeur of the American landscape.

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Antique Christmas
November 4, 2016–January 8, 2017

Get into the holiday mood by visiting the Taft’s annual display of antique ornaments, decorations, and toys. Thanks to generous lenders from Cincinnati and beyond, you can escape to a winter wonderland of Christmas past.

This year you will see a miniature log cabin in Christmastime woods; an antique clockwork Santa; an exhibit of early German nutcrackers; antique Christmas feather trees trimmed entirely with delightful red and pink ornaments, and—benefitting this national election year— a large-scale tree with old patriotic ornaments in red, blue and white. Festive greenery will deck the halls and exterior of the house, and the Dining Room will be set for the holidays with sparkling china, crystal, and silver.

Click here for the Antique Christmas labels.

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Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Under Construction, August 4, 1988, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from original glass plate negative, 1888. Collection of Jeffrey J. McClorey

Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Under Construction, August 4, 1988, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from original glass plate negative, 1888. Collection of Jeffrey J. McClorey

Forgotten Cincinnati: Photographs from the 1880s
November 18, 2016 — March 5, 2017 | Sinton Gallery

In 2013, a private collector rediscovered a trove of large glass-plate negatives. These fragile documents by unidentified photographers constitute a time capsule of late-19th-century Cincinnati. Group portraits reveal the faces of former residents. Street scenes show life in a bustling city and record buildings that no longer exist. Construction views and industrial interiors portray Cincinnati as a developing modern metropolis. The exhibition features twelve recent photographic prints made from the original negatives, as well as examples of the negatives themselves. These astounding images conjure the Queen City’s vibrant past.

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