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News Release Contact: Paul Bernish




Plans Underway Also Include $10 Million Fundraising Effort &

Aggressive Community Outreach

Cincinnati, Ohio (March 14, 2006) --- In its second full operating year, the National
Underground Railroad Freedom Center is embarking upon a multi-faceted plan to
enhance its overall visitor experience, further anchor the museum and cultural center’s
ties to the community and take actions to ensure the Freedom Center’s long-term
financial sustainability.

Freedom Center CEO John Pepper said the museum and cultural center’s active agenda
in its second year is at the heart of his vision to create a best-in-class attraction that both
informs and inspires visitors about freedom issues in historical and modern-day contexts.

“I am both inspired and touched to see how truly engaged our visitors are – especially
children – by the exhibits and the individual stories of courage and cooperation,” Pepper
said. “I am determined to enhance that experience and ensure that the Freedom Center
is secure financially and, even more, is an integral part of the total community”.

Pepper, the retired CEO of Procter & Gamble Company, joined Freedom Center
President Dr. Spencer Crew at the $110 million museum on Cincinnati’s central riverfront
on January 1. After eight weeks delving into operational details of the organization and
its public mission, he says he is satisfied with the Freedom Center’s progress to date, but
believes broad scale enhancements are needed to secure a national and global
reputation for excellence.

“This is a tremendous facility with a powerful message that is touching and impacting all
ages and all demographics. Moving forward in our second full year of operation, we
need to expand our reach, enhance our programs and solidify our business plan,” he

Toward those ends, Pepper said that the Freedom Center leadership will focus
immediately on three core objectives:

• Enhancing the visitor experience

• Engaging more with the community

• Establishing long-term financial sustainability


In the 18 months since opening, just over 355,000 visitors have toured the Freedom
Center, or nearly 20,000 per month. The overall visitor experience will be expanded and
further personalized by:

„ Increasing the number of guided tours led by volunteers and trained student
guides as well as examining audio-assisted tours.

„ Completing the changing exhibit gallery and bringing in an array of new

exhibits. An exhibit of children’s art from the violence-torn Sudanese region
of Darfur will go on display in April. It will be followed by a “9-11” exhibit of
memorabilia from the World Trade Center tragedy. “It’s vital for every
museum to be able to change exhibits through the course of a year, so we are
very pleased that we will soon be presenting new and exciting material that
will engage visitors and spark discussion”, Dr. Crew said.

„ Expanding thematic tours such as the already popular “Women of Courage”

tour focusing on the contribution of women in the fight for freedom. New tours
focusing on the roles of religion and of Cincinnati and the Tri-State in the
abolition of slavery are being planned.

„ Creating additional, high-visibility signage for key areas of the facility to

increase visitor understanding and interaction.

In the area of community engagement, Pepper said the Freedom Center is intended to
be a “living, breathing facility that nurtures and celebrates community activities that
support our mission and thoroughly engage the community in pursuing its most important

“The Freedom Center wants to be a catalyst for discussion of the most important issues
confronting our community,” Dr. Crew added. “We hosted numerous events in our first
year, such as the Mayoral candidate’s debate, and our intention is to make community
meeting and event hosting even more a core activity in the future.”

To that end, the Freedom Center is hosting Mayor Mark Mallory’s “State of the City”
address on Thursday (March 16). Its Theodore M. Berry Lecture Series will resume in
May, with a high profile speaker already secured. In October, another in the Freedom
Center’s International Freedom Conductor Award (IFCA) events is planned. Previous
IFC awards have included Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks and South African
Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Also in October, the Freedom Center is offering special packages for Tall Stacks tourists
and local businesses. It will also host a national recognition event for “Everyday
Freedom Heroes,” a program co-sponsored with PepsiCo.

Pepper said an immediate goal of expanded community programming is attract greater

participation by minorities, teen groups, young professionals and women, religious and
other community-based organizations.

Even as the Freedom Center pursues a more active programming and community
engagement schedule, establishing long-term financial stability is Pepper’s top priority
focus. The first step in the process is raising $10 million over the next two years to
deliver new programs and visitor enhancements while eliminating a $5.5 million budget
deficit that has accumulated since the Freedom Center’s August 2004 opening. Pepper

noted that approximately $4 million of the $10 million has been raised in the last ten

“The second step to achieving sound financial stability is being pursued concurrently”,
Pepper added. “It involves a combination of cost reductions and the development of new
public and private funding initiatives. The Freedom Center has demonstrated itself to be
a solid public resource for our community, and as such we are a very viable candidate for
sustained public funding.”

Pepper said that the Freedom Center also plans to strengthen its group sales, tourism,
and facility rentals activity. It also is exploring opportunities to provide fee-for-service
programming, such as diversity training, that would add to earned revenue.

Pepper said that the many new activities demonstrate the Freedom Center’s
determination to be a vital and dynamic asset to Cincinnati and the nation.

“We started out in August 2004 with a Grand Opening that captured national and
international attention, and since then has garnered highly positive visitor reactions,” he
said. “What we have to do now is apply the learning we’ve gained in our first year to
further improve and grow. With so much to offer and so many devoted supporters, I
know we’ll make the Freedom Center a vital contributor to the community as well as the
preeminent institution in the nation on the subject of freedom.”


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Situated in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the banks of the Ohio River, the waters that once
separated slave and free territory, the Freedom Center celebrates the legacy of courage
and multicultural cooperation embodied in the story of the Underground Railroad. Of
equal importance, the Freedom Center uses a wide array of exhibits to educate the
public about the historic and continuing struggle to establish universal freedom in both
the U.S. and around the world. For additional information, contact 513.333.7500 or visit