There’s a 2,000-year-old statue in Milwaukee, and it’s getting a makeover

There’s a 2,000-year-old statue in Milwaukee, and it’s getting a makeover

640 480

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. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and explore our previous episodes.

This might be the oldest thing we’ve talked about on “Urban Spelunking,” although it sets that record on a bit of technicality.

Instead of touring a historic building, we talk about a 2,000-year-old statue on display at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave., that will soon be restored.

Villa Terrace’s Hermes/Mercury. (Photo courtesy: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee)

But how did it get here in the first place? And how do you find someone to restore a statue this old, that’s been exposed for Wisconsin weather for decades? It’s a challenge, indeed, and one we explore on this week’s episode.

“If you were nearly 2,000 years old, you’d need a little work, too,” Bobby Tanzilo wrote in his article on “Restored in the 17th century — reportedly by master Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, though without definitive attribution (it may have also been the work of Francois Duquesnoy) — the statue is believed to have been purchased in Italy by American collector Mary Clark Thompson.”

Listen to the episode below, check out a few images of the statue’s beautiful home, and read Bobby’s full story at

Our pre-drive $10,000 donation match ends tomorrow! But you can help us hit our goal right now. Give today and make double the impact so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

(Photo courtesy: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee)
(Photo courtesy: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee)
88Nine Radio Milwaukee