Monday, July 5, 2010

Time Travel: Touring the Histories of Our Cities

The NY Times Travel section is currently highlighting historical tours of various cities throughout the country. These are thematic tours, histories that are pulled from and specific to their cities, such as a history of freedom in Selma, Alabama, the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal shipping through the eyes of the residents of lock houses in Washington DC, and a Georgia O'Keefe tour in Santa Fe, NM. Programs like these are not particularly new, as such tours seem always to be a significant part of family summer vacations through national parks and other historical sites. Yet the diversity in topics seems to be growing. As an art historian, it is this teasing out of these stories that is most exciting.

The Cincinnati Preservation Association provides various walking tours through their Architreks program. These tours highlight various parts of the city and explore its various histories. Recently, The Newport Gangster Tour and The Queen City Underground Tour have attracted a number of local groups to become entertained as well as more engaged in the history of Greater Cincinnati. While patriotic festivals are fun and necessary to remember, it is with tours such as these we uncover the culture of our individual cities.

This month I will begin a series of stories highlighting the number of house museums throughout Greater Cincinnati. Seeing how we have lived and moved around the Ohio River, my series will invite you to travel through our lives and times.