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Milwaukee Public Museum unveils “Wisconsin Journey” gallery sketches ahead of new museum construction

A sketch of the Apostle Islands exhibit for “Wisconsin Journey,” a permanent gallery for the new Milwaukee Public Museum. (Rendering courtesy of Thinc Design.)

The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and New York-based Thinc Design announced on Thursday sketches for the future museum’s “Wisconsin Journey” gallery which features the Badger State’s natural and cultural landscapes. The gallery is the second out of five to focus on a specific overarching theme as the museum and partners release more information over the coming months. 

“Wisconsin Journey” features exhibits of The Apostle Islands, the Driftless Area, the Northwoods and prairielands, museum officials said. Each exhibit has something to look at like a 19th-century lead mine, day and night cycles in the Northwoods and the Hebior Mammoth Dig Site. 

The Northwoods exhibit in “Wisconsin Journey” includes a day and night cycle. (Rendering courtesy of Thinc Design.)

The Associated Bank will have the Associated Bank Gathering and Education Space in the gallery entrance after donating $1 million to the museum, museum officials said. The space will support special programming and interactive learning experiences connected to the gallery’s theme. Each of the museum’s five permanent galleries will have similar entrance areas. 

“At the outset of this once-in-a-generation project, MPM staff took a tour of Wisconsin with our design partners to draw inspiration from the natural landscapes and cultural traditions that make Wisconsin a diverse, unique place. That tour underscored the importance of and value in learning about the familiar, and the Museum determined it wanted to explore Wisconsin in a way not done before,” MPM President and CEO Dr. Ellen Censky said in a statement. 

Here are the remaining future galleries MPM has in store: 

  • April 14: Milwaukee Revealed, featuring city streetscapes teaching the history of the city 
  • May 9: “Living in a Dynamic World” and Mixing Zones will take visitors to five distinct ecosystems across the zones to explore their landscapes and cultures 
  • May 23: “Rainforest,” “Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium” and Bucyrus Rooftop Terrace includes a warm greenhouse space with live butterflies, a rooftop gathering space and tropical exhibits. 

Prairielands with bison on display in renderings of future museum galleries. (Rendering courtesy of Thinc Design.)

“Since embarking on the project, our design partners at Thinc have immersed themselves into MPM’s collections, community and Wisconsin more broadly. In 2021, MPM and our project partners took a tour of the state, finding inspiration for the architecture and design processes ahead, exploring the geographically diverse and culturally rich wonders we have in Wisconsin and learning about the unique place the Future Museum will examine and reflect,” Censky said. 

The museum will move from its home at 800 W. Wells Street to a 2.4-acre site at the corner of Sixth and McKinley Streets in Milwaukee, museum officials said. In 2017, the museum announced it would cost $100 million to move and build 200,000 square feet of space. 

Mortenson and ALLCON will be the primary contractors for the project. 

About Ethan Duran

Ethan Duran is the construction and development reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 551-7505 or [email protected]

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