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MPM shares details on 'Milwaukee Revealed' gallery coming to Future Museum

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A sketch of a nighttime city streetscape in a museum setting with visitors milling around the streets.
Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum has released the next wave of sketches and details about the latest exhibit coming to the Future Museum, the "spiritual successor" to the "Streets of Old Milwaukee" exhibit.

The new exhibit will be called "Milwaukee Revealed" and, like the current exhibit, will depict Milwaukee scenes from yesteryear.

An urban streetscape will welcome exploration, with familiar buildings, neighborhoods and construction materials. At the center will be a depiction of the Third Ward's iconic Mitchell building, which will be enhanced with a projection of the original structure built on the site: Milwaukee founder Solomon Juneau's humble cabin.

Milwaukee Public Museum

“As any Milwaukeean or MPM visitor knows, there’s more to Milwaukee than meets the eye,” MPM president and CEO Dr. Ellen Censky said. “Just as Milwaukee is an urban environment built on a rich natural landscape, 'Milwaukee Revealed' will simultaneously explore the bustling business corridors and neighborhoods of the city, the unique ecology of the lakefront and waterways, and the ways in which nature and culture come together in confluence to create the place we call home.”

Elsewhere in "Milwaukee Revealed," a recreation of the Schlitz Palm Garden will explore the golden age of the brewing industry and will answer "why beer and why Milwaukee," according to museum officials.

In addition to beer, there will also be a frozen custard shop that explains how Wisconsin's favorite frozen treat became so ubiquitous. And, speaking of sweets, the Haymarket Candy Shop will also make the move, allowing guests to shop for candies and treats inside.

An artist's sketch of a vintage candy store with people looking through the windows and shopping inside.
Milwaukee Public Museum
Haymarket Candy Store

Other storefronts will dot the streets of the new space, including a recreation of a pharmacy and a dress shop featuring a window display with a rotating selection of period textiles from the museum's collection.

Designers will make use of cream city brick throughout the gallery, as well as recreations of smaller-scale neighborhoods. There will also be a waterfront component paying homage to our lakefront and rivers, and visitors will learn more about Increase Lapham, Wisconsin's first scientist and naturalist, with a view into his study.

The museum plans to reinforce the "revealed" theme in each segment of the gallery space. Hidden levers and buttons will entice exploration, with guests being able to peek behind walls and crawl underneath certain parts of the exhibit for a closer look. Dramatic lighting effects will simulate a dusk setting, with smells and sounds enhancing the immersion.

On this special edition of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee's Bobby Tanzilo and I discuss the new gallery space and what it means for fans of the current exhibit. Then we hear directly from museum officials for more about the move.

"Milwaukee Revealed" is the third of five unveilings from MPM this spring, with two more announcements scheduled for May, according to a news release:

Tuesday, May 9

  • Living in a Dynamic World: Visitors will take an unconventional journey to five distinct ecosystems across the globe and be immersed in the landscapes and cultures that occupy them.
  • Mixing Zones: Two spaces that will showcase a rotating selection of collection items, offer spaces for public interaction and programming and turn the Museum “inside out” by providing behind-the-scenes views into the collections’ storage areas.

Tuesday, May 23

  • Rainforest: Visitors will be transported to the tropics to learn about the biodiversity that flourishes in tropical rainforests and the life rainforest climates support.
  • Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium: A warm, lush greenhouse thriving with real tropical plants and live butterflies flying freely throughout the space.
  • Bucyrus Rooftop Terrace: A gathering space to reconnect visitors to the outdoors and natural world.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee