Cincinnati: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Nearly 140 years after the 13th Amendment granted freedom to the nation's enslaved, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened on the banks of the Ohio River, the waterway that once separated free states from slave states and was so crucial in delivering slaves to liberation via the Underground Railroad. More than 100,000 people found their freedom through that makeshift system, which had a key terminus in Ohio. Several major exhibits, which are spread out over three pavilions and four floors in this $110 million facility, tell these stories of slavery and freedom. A two-story slave pen, recovered from nearby Mason County, Ky., is perhaps the museum's central artifact, a structure that once served as a storage house for slaves. There's also a special exhibit designed for youngsters, covering the escape and rescue missions on the Underground Railroad from 1830 until 1861.