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“An old mansion as an art museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Taft Museum of Art

Taft Museum of Art
Ranked #23 of 174 things to do in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Housed in a 175-year-old Federal building, this private art collection - one of the world's best - includes art from around the world, from 13th-century European sculpture to ancient Chinese porcelains to 17th-century European painting.
Tinley Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“An old mansion as an art museum”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

The Taft Art Museum is a wonderful place. Anna and Charles Taft bequeathed their historic home and private collection of 690 works of art to the people of Cincinnati in 1927. The museum and been renovated and an addition as been added. The paintings, ceramics and furniture are wonderfully displayed in the various rooms of the mansion. They do have a small restaurant, but we did not have time to dine.

Visited April 2014
Thank Christine H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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268 reviews from our community

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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
72 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Wonderful Little Museum in Cincinnati”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Housed in a beautiful old home that belonged to the half brother of William Howard Taft. This collection is a treasure containing Rembrandt, Whistler, Turner and Gainsborough painting, There are also beautiful furnishings from the 19th century. There is also a very lovely and popular cafe on the first floor.

Visited May 2014
Thank adcampanella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chesterland, Ohio
Level Contributor
728 reviews
293 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 477 helpful votes
“Intimate Art Museum in Historic Old Mansion”
Reviewed 9 May 2014

Much of the art if from the 19th Century. You will likely recognize the names of only a handful of the artists, and there are fewer than 20 galleries. But the Taft Museum is well worth a visit as it displays a terrific private art collection in the beautiful home of the older half-brother of President William Taft.

The Taft Museum is in a nice area of downtown Cincinnati. It stands in a large federal-style house next to a park with a statue of a young and beardless Abraham Lincoln. You don't enter through the grand front (more about that later), but in the side to a modern but classically furnished entrance area complete with a nice cafe.

The home is one of the finest in Cincinnati and was donated by the Taft family, complete with its artwork, to the city in the 1930s. The home was extensively refurbished in the federal style about 10 years ago.

The house is likely interesting in its own right, but the art collection is something special. Again, you won't see an iconic painting here, but there are still outstanding works from Medieval to the late 1900s. They have one Rembrandt, but it is part of a set of two where the other is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so the two museums trade them back and forth so they can be displayed together.

I really liked the many landscape paintings. Some are from the impressionist era, but many are engaging. You will want to take a look at the murals (as in the artist painted the wall) of the entrance to the original house. They are by Robert S. Duncanson, believed to be the first African American artist to achieve wide recognition. He can paint my foyer any day.

The museum isn't large, but they also offer cards with a "top 10" listing of artworks. I found it helpful, but my favorite wasn't on it and that was part of the fun - finding lesser known works that appealed. You probably want to look closely at the Medieval art. The pieces can look busy at first, but if you look at the little details, they have many cool images. They also had a large display of artwork on pocket watches. My favorite was one of a very English-looking Cleopatra holding an asp in her final minutes.

The rooms themselves are very grand. They are lavishly decorated and, apart from the period style, look as if they were done yesterday.

I was there on a slow day and I think some of the staff in the galleries was a little bored. One gave me a quick informal tour that I appreciated.

The more modern part of the museum hosts various exhibitions. I saw one regarding Chinese dress at the end of the last dynasty. Again, there was nothing you would recognize but the style of dress and detail were fascinating. The tiny shoes made my feet hurt a little just to look at them.

The Taft Museum is a worthwhile place to visit. I really appreciated seeing an excellent private art collection maintained in its original home. It was like visiting a friend's distant but very wealthy and generous relative.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank ElaineAndGreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
101 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“A delight!”
Reviewed 28 April 2014

We visited this without any knowledge of it at all before we arrived and were totally delighted by it. It is a small art gallery set out in a most beautiful old home, very nicely set out and easy to peruse. There are some beautiful works of art: including paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Turner, Whistler, Hals amongst others. Also porcelain and statuary.

The staff are wonderful too, very welcoming and enthusiastic about their gallery (no bored attendants sitting on chairs in the corner here).

It's a perfect place to fill in an hour or so. Even better if you go on Sunday when admission is free (more money for the gift shop).

Visited April 2014
Thank 9HappyTrails
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, United States
Level Contributor
29 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A Small Gem”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

The Taft is easily seen in a day; housed in a historic home that belonged to the Taft family it contains wonderful art treasures. It also often has interesting special exhibits; I took friends visiting from Holland and they very much enjoyed the collection of Dutch masters. Nice café for a light lunch or a tea/coffee break.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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