Graham Kilmer

Milwaukee Public Museum Project Receives State Grant

$150,000 grant supports site clearing, environmental investigation.

By - Jul 1st, 2021 06:14 pm
Milwaukee Public Museum Reef Rendering. Rendering Luci Creative

Milwaukee Public Museum Reef Rendering. Rendering by Luci Creative.

The project to develop a new building for the Milwaukee Public Museum is receiving a state grant to help fund an early stage of development of the planned site.

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced it was awarding a $150,000 grant to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) to support site clearance and environmental site investigation.

“A vibrant downtown is key to a community’s overall economic health, and this development will bring more visitors to downtown, which will benefit other businesses and the entire community,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, in a statement announcing the grant.

In 2020, the museum announced plans to build a new 230,000 square foot facility at the northeast corner of W. McKinley Ave. and N. 6th St. The plan also calls for co-locating the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum on the property.

The entire project is estimated to cost $240 million. The facility itself will cost $190 million.

The new building is integral to the museum maintaining its collections and accreditation. The current building, at 800 W. Wells St., is in such poor condition that The Alliance of American Museums tabled the museum’s re-accreditation in February.

This is the latest development in the project, which the museum’s president and CEO Ellen Censky, says requires significant public buy-in to jumpstart a major capital-campaign soliciting millions in donations for the new facility.

Governor Tony Evers put $40 million for the new museum in his biennial budget proposal. It was one of the few provisions to survive the cuts made by the Republican controlled state legislature. The public funding will also show the accrediting organization that the museum is making progress towards several goals it must meet to receive its re-accreditation.

Censky said the WEDC funding “begins the work of transforming that block into an innovative, world-class museum experience.”

“Each step toward our collocation has built excitement and strengthened our commitment to create the best museum campus we can for the community,” said Brian King, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

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One thought on “Milwaukee Public Museum Project Receives State Grant”

  1. sbaldwin001 says:

    I am wondering if there will be a public display of the proposed museum design in which public comments are collected. The public financial support is significant, and as a cultural institution, the new museum will play a significant role in the the education of Wisconsin’s students and in Milwaukee’s downtown development. Also, a public display with commenting would contribute to the public buy-in and sense of public ownership.

    As a public museum that creates public displays on a regular basis, I would think this would be right up MPM’s alley.

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