There is a one-of-a-kind organ in the walls of MATC's downtown Milwaukee campus
This week on Urban Spelunking, we continue our "back to school" series with another trip to one of our alma maters and discover a giant, nearly century-old organ at Milwaukee Area Technical College in downtown Milwaukee.
The 1931 Skinner organ is in the second-floor Cooley Auditorium, with pipes wrapping around the room to surround the audience with sound. Its one-of-a-kind nature stems from the fact that it was purpose-built for the space and installed directly into the walls. The instrument includes a console (the keyboards and pedals), a "computer" made of hundreds of hand-soldered wires and switches, and — of course — a massive system of fans and pipes.
But what what makes the organ even more unique is the collection of original musical scrolls. Like a player-piano, the instrument can be be loaded with paper rolls that allow it to play without an operator. MATC has preserved the collection — one of the world's largest for the Skinner organ.
On this week's podcast, Bobby and I return to the halls where we studied (we both attended MATC and UWM; find our UWM spelunking here). Learn about the work to restore the organ to its original beauty, and listen to the end for some MATC trivia. You can also find Bobby's complete story at OnMilwaukee.