More than 80 years ago, the Taft family bequeathed their stately home to the people of Cincinnati–and they also gave them plenty to hang on the walls. Home to the Taft's collection of 690 works of art, the Taft Museum welcomes visitors to view paintings by European and American masters, Chinese porcelains, European decorative arts, and captivating rotating exhibitions throughout the year. As they wander the museum, patrons view Rembrandt van Rijn's Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair, Whistler's At The Piano, and John Singer Sargent's portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson, among other notable works.
The house itself is equally impressive. William Howard Taft accepted his nomination for President of the United States beneath the portico, and the structure, first built in 1820, is considered one of the country's finest examples of Federal architecture in the Palladian style.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center narrates the story of slavery through the past and into the present with vivid photo- and artifact-filled exhibits. Learn about the houses, tunnels, and basements traversed by the more than an estimated 100,000 enslaved people who sought freedom on the Underground Railroad, before settling in for a 25-minute, experiential film detailing the courageous path of one woman’s flight to freedom. Recently opened in 2010, the 4,000 square foot Invisible: Slavery Today exhibit examines contemporary forms of enslavement, guiding guests through an informative and elucidating sensory experience. Concluding the tour, visitors can make a personal commitment to the 21st Century Abolitionists. Museum guests can also delve into their own family history in the genealogical archives where personalized assistance from a history buff volunteer will help steer your search through your family tree’s foliage.
Originally from Cartersville, Virginia, Elliott Jordan traveled south to pursue his passion, sojourning in Kentucky, where he received his bachelor’s in art and eventually his master’s in arts education. Experienced in portraiture, Jordan has transformed expressive countenances into works of art for more than 40 years, and his work has been displayed from the East to the Midwest—gracing the walls of the Cincinnati City Hall, Kentucky State University, and the historic Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Connecticut. Following a number of inspiring visits to Ghana, Jordan became a collector and dealer of African art, and today he displays and sells African artifacts at his gallery, as well as his own works and gold-framed pizza-delivery menus. He leads a number of painting classes inside the gallery's studio, where students follow along to create unique and colorful creations.
NVISION carries a large inventory of handcrafted, recycled, secondhand, and vintage clothing and home furnishings that caters to one-of-a-kind tastes and delights artistically funky sensibilities. Dream about how much tastier your cooking would be if you wore a red and white polka-dotted rooster apron ($15), or practice twirling with a mannequin dressed in a green sparkly dress by Mr. McIver ($36). If your head prefers wearing hats to wearing kittens, try on a natural straw hat ($25), which features decorative straw flowers. Feet will rest comfortably when perched upon a stripey chenille and muslin handmade pillow ($15) from Emily B, while smokers can exhale cinematically with a ceramic Italian smoking set ($40) complete with ashtray, tobacco box, and refillable lighter.
Once the crowning holiday jewel of Shillito's Department store, the Santa's Workshop displays featured dozens of scenes with hundreds of animatronic elves going ceaselessly about their Christmas tasks. The exhibit drew as many as 100,000 visitors at its peak of popularity, only to be packed away in 1982 when the store went through a merger. They saw the light of day – and Christmas lights – once again in 2005, when Bill Spinnenweber acquired the collection at auction, with an eye toward fully restoring the machines to the pristine glory they enjoyed when created 50 years earlier. He got the community behind him, and they raised more than $22,000 to dust off cobwebs and restore motors. Now, the classic Christmas scenes of Shillito's Elves come to Newport on the Levee for new generations to enjoy.