Gold: The Exhibition


of an Exhibition

by Marcus Harshaw

Published on May 25, 2011, Modified on June 06, 2011

  • Description:

    Turning the lens to my own current special exhibit, Gold: The Exhibition and her companion exhibit Queen City Gold: Out of the Vault are on display at my home museum Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gold: The Exhibition was developed by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York, and is nearing the end of its tour with only one more stop after Cincinnati.

    On of the unique design challenges of Union Terminal are the hallways that separate the front 5000 square foot exhibit hall from the back 10000 square foot exhibit hall. We get to create exhibitry in those hallways that prepare the visitor for what they are about to see with artifacts and content relevant to the main exhibition. These hallways also provide a natural queuing area in the case of heavy volume. The entry hallway to the Gold exhibit is done in a gold mine theme with several artifacts to browse on the way to the main exhibition.

    Large letters spelling GOLD greet you as you enter the main hall of the exhibition. The exhibit is divided into six different galleries that discuss Gold from its natural form all the way to gold awards. The first gallery, Aurum Naturae has an interesting selection of natural gold artifacts such as the Seahorse Nugget…shaped like a Seahorse. There is a video that introduces the exhibit by discussing the formation of gold, gold in the past, and gold’s uses today.

    The Incomparable Gold gallery reveals that gold has been found on almost every continent (Sorry Antarctica!) and hosts one of the most breathtaking things in the exhibit: the gold room. This is a 300 square foot room with extremely thinly pressed gold on the walls and ceiling made with only 3 ounces of gold! Golden Ages showcases golden items from around the world illustrating that gold was found in most corners of the Earth and was valued similarly in all of these places. This gallery shows you how gold quickly became used to signify someone’s status in their community.

    Lost and Found discusses shipwrecks and has two significant pieces in the exhibit. The wreck of the SS Central America on September 12, 1857 brings us the largest surviving ingot from the California Gold rush, the Eureka Bar, and dozens of $20 gold Double Eagle coins in their original pine box…or what is left of it anyway. If you are into coins, then look no further than the Gold Standard gallery featuring many coins from all around the world spanning dozens of centuries. Lastly, stop by Gold Achievement if you have ever wanted to see an Oscar, Emmy, or a Golden Globe statuette up close, or find out what your weight is worth in gold, now is your chance!

    The fun doesn’t stop there! Another fun thing we often get to do here at Cincinnati Museum Center is design and produce a local connection exhibit where we are able to highlight treasures from our own collection that pertain to the content of the traveling exhibit. Queen City Gold: Out of the Vault is that exhibit and it showcases some really exciting local items like William DeHart Hubbard’s Olympic medals, 6 Reds World Series trophies, a coffee pot that a child could fit into, tons of gold adorned dishes (the mustache cup being my favorite), books, and weapons. You can even see some beautiful jewelry from local jeweler Lee Krombholz!

    My Professional Opinion -

    The content is exciting, the exhibit is spacious, and with the added exhibit the entire experience is well worth the ticket price. You fundamentally get two exhibits for the price of one! You only have 9 days (From Monday, May 3 anyway) left to see it here in Cincinnati! For more information, please visit:

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