Last year the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) bestowed the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (CMC) with the National Medal Award. It is one of 10 institutions to receive the honor in 2009 and the prize included three StoryCorps recording days. My co-Facilitator Matt Herman and I visited Cincinnati, OH, from July 14-16th to record stories from the CMC’s donors, patrons, staff, founders, community and board members.
All of the days’ participants glowed with praise for CMC’s programs, historical institutions, and OMNIMAX Theater. They were also particularly proud of the Museum’s ongoing, costly, and crucial preservation of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, an Art Deco train station built in 1931.
The building is crucial to the city’s identity; it carries an impressive aura of historical grandeur. Its significance is exemplified in photographs of legions of World War II servicemen filtering through its front doors, welcomed home by crowds of loved ones, draping its portico and filling its rotunda. Each participant shared an important memory minted in the building. This is where several generations of greater-Cincinnatians have consistently reunited.
Read about a pair of our participants at CMC in Matt Herman’s post, “I never grew out of the phase of knowing all the dinosaur names.”
Brenda Hunda is an invertebrate paleontologist at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science. She grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, where there are a lot of dinosaur fossils. During her StoryCorps interview, Brenda told her friend and museum volunteer, Bob Bergstein, that she knew what she wanted to be from a young age.
My mother would tell you that I wanted to be a paleontologist since I was three, even though at the age of three I didn’t know what it was called, but I certainly knew what dinosaurs were. I never grew out of the phase of knowing all the dinosaur names and having all the dinosaur books.
After studying at the University of Alberta, Brenda came to the United States to work on her Ph.D. at the University of California – Riverside. While at UC Riverside, Brenda started coming to Cincinnati over the summers to do research. After finishing her Ph.D., Brenda moved to Cincinnati and got a job at the museum.