Graham Kilmer

Public Museum Wants Your Opinions

Online survey asks people about favored museum experiences, exhibits, to help plan new $240 million facility.

By - Sep 15th, 2022 10:57 am

Rendering of new museum viewed from the west side of N. 6th St.

If you have ideas about what you’d like to see in the future Milwaukee Public Museum, now’s your chance to make it known.

The non-profit that operates the museum, MPM Inc., announced Tuesday that it has launched an online-survey seeking input from the public on what they’d like to see and experience at the new Milwaukee Public Museum. The plan for the new $240 million museum calls for a five story, 200,000 square foot facility at the corner of N. 6th St. and W. McKinley Ave

“The input of visitors and community members has been a key component through the first phases of the Future Museum design process, with focus groups and thousands of individuals providing their input and guidance,” said MPM Chief Planning Officer Katie Sanders. “For this next phase of design, we are seeking even more input from people all around Wisconsin. The results of this survey will influence how we bring ideas to life as we enter the next phase of our design process — focused on the interior of the building and its exhibits.”

The survey asks respondents to rank what types of museum experiences are most important to them, to select general exhibitions they would like to see and what events they would like to participate in among other things. The exhibit floors at the future museum are being designed by Thinc Design, and public input from the survey will be incorporated into their planning. You can take the survey here.

The new museum will likely be called the Wisconsin Museum of Nature and Culture. MPM Inc. which will reincorporate under a new legal entity to operate the new museum, released some designs for the new building in July. Ennead Architects is in charge of the design and said the new building was inspired by Mill Bluff in Mill Bluff State Park. There will also be a 50,000-square-foot facility to store the museum’s collections

MPM has begun publicly fundraising for the new facility, after initially securing $110 million. These early funds include $40 million in state funding from the most recent biennial budget, $45 million from Milwaukee County and another $15 million in commitments from private donors.

When the museum came within danger of losing its accreditation, due to the dilapidated state of the current museum building at 800 W. Wells St. which is owned by the county, MPM Inc. began to pursue plans for a new facility in earnest. The national accrediting body, the American Alliance of Museums, tabled the the museum’s bid for re-accreditation in early 2021. The $95 million in public funding committed to the project was critical to re-accreditation, which the museum received in August this year. Without accreditation the museum would lose standing in the donor community and the ability to host traveling exhibits, which would have severely impacted the museum’s budget and operations and led to its eventual closing.

Groundbreaking on the new facility is expected by the end of 2023.

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Categories: Arts & Culture

One thought on “Public Museum Wants Your Opinions”

  1. Polaris says:

    Nice! I’m gonna complete the survey!

    Beyond keeping The Streets of Old Milwaukee (a no-brainer?) I hope the museum engages a tribal advisory council or other such body to do the deep work of ensuring that native stories are cultures represented in a way that is honoring. This is not a task that can be left to non-native anthropologists and archaeologists.

    The Field Museum here in Chicago just reopened its new native exhibit–Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories and it is really excellent. Bravo to them for (finally) doing the right thing!

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