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Beyond renderings: Museum leaders discuss newly unveiled 'Time Travel' exhibits

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An artist's rendering of a reef from the Palezoic era, with a squid-like creature suspended from the ceiling and a large tank will replicas of sea creatures.
Milwaukee Public Museum / Thinc Design

Every week on Urban Spelunking, Radio Milwaukee’s Nate Imig and OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo dig into the buildings and architectural features that help retain the city’s sense of history while it builds for the future.

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Public Museum unveiled the first concept art and details about its new "Time Travel" gallery and exhibits, set to open at the Future Museum in 2026.

"Time Travel" will explore how life began and adapted across three distinct geological eras: Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The exhibit will activate previously unseen items from the permanent collection that are currently in storage, and will translate existing elements from current exhibits into a refreshed setting.

Visitors will recognize this familiar scene from the Mesozoic era:

An artist's rendering of two Torosaurs butting heads with a Tyrannosaurus rex looming in the background behind a group of trees.
Milwaukee Public Museum / Thinc Design

"The Future Museum will showcase a diorama of two Torosaurs locked in a ferocious battle — one depicted using the fossilized skeleton currently on display at MPM and the other, a model indicating the size and might of a fully fleshed dinosaur," MPM said in a release announcing the plans.

Look close, and you'll notice the T-Rex lurking around the corner.

“The exhibit is inspired by a puncture wound on the Torosaur skeleton that, through scientific research, was determined to be caused by another Torosaur. Because of that wound, we can better understand the behavior of the species of the Cretaceous period – like how they fought over resources or mates – and what they left behind," said Oronde Wright, senior exhibition designer at Thinc Design and a lead designer on the Future Museum project.

"Time Travel" is one of five permanent future exhibitions MPM will unveil this spring.

An artist's rendering of complete skeletons from a mammoth and other animals from the Cenozoic era on display in a museum.
Milwaukee Public Museum / Thinc Design

In this Urban Spelunking episode, Bobby and I are live on-site to hear directly from museum leaders on where the project stands and more about what's coming in the months ahead.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee