Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Doors Open 2020 Will Be Virtual Event

Pandemic alters form of popular event that provides inside look at over 100 city buildings.

By - Aug 27th, 2020 11:50 am
Doors Open Milwaukee - American System-Built Homes by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo taken September 23rd, 2012 by Erik Ljung. All Rights Reserved.

Doors Open Milwaukee – American System-Built Homes by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo taken September 23rd, 2012 by Erik Ljung. All Rights Reserved.

The 10th annual Doors Open Milwaukee won’t look anything like the events that preceded it.

The event would normally feature approximately 150 buildings opening their doors to tens of thousands of visitors over a late September weekend. The most popular sites regularly draw lines and have people crammed into elevators and other small spaces as they tour everything from Northwestern Mutual Tower to the Schuster Mansion Bed & Breakfast.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, crowds, particularly in small spaces, are a no go. What to do? Go virtual.

Over 100 buildings that normally open for in-person tours will be showcased through photos, videos and 360-degree virtual reality tours. “This is the safest option for visitors, volunteers, and sites with the uncertainty of the future course of this pandemic,” said event host Historic Milwaukee in a press release announcing the news.

The revised program will run from September 26th through October 11th.

In-depth virtual tours are planned for the Clarke Square, Lindsay Heights and Thurston Woods neighborhoods. The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service will run a special program on October 1st.

There will be some in-person, socially-distant programming. Designed by artist CK Ledesma, a neighborhood activity booklet will feature family-friendly interactive activities and highlight 16 Milwaukee neighborhoods. “We hope visitors will take the opportunity to explore Milwaukee safely,” said the organization.

It’s not the first open house type event to move to a virtual program. A similar event in Buenos Aires, Argentina switched to a virtual format in July.

Open House Chicago, scheduled to run from October 16th through the 25th, will be entirely outdoors or virtual. The event has the second-highest attendance of any of the open house events that take place across the world.

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