Graham Kilmer

Museum Days Returns for 2023

With special exhibits and free and reduced admission at 27 metro area museums.

By - Jan 18th, 2023 07:55 am
Charles Allis Art Museum. Photo by Dave Reid.

Charles Allis Art Museum. Photo by Dave Reid.

Sure, it’s cold and rainy, and might turn snowy, but it also happens to be the best time of the year to visit a local museum.

Milwaukee Museum Days, the annual event organized by Visit Milwaukee, returns this week offering free or reduced admissions to museums and cultural institutions around the city. The event was first launched in 2019 to gin up awareness and visitors to Greater Milwaukee museums.

Museum Days will run Jan. 19-29 this year. Admissions to the participating institutions will range from free to $15. Along with the deals at the ticket box, the museums will offer unique programming throughout the run with new showcases and expositions, performances, and contests for local artists.

“Milwaukee’s art and cultural heritage, its ethnic diversity, and historic assets housed in our museums provide a rich sense of identity and pride that improves the quality of life for residents and overall experience for visitors,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, VISIT Milwaukee president and CEO. “We’re so proud to promote these institutions and we hope to introduce them to new visitors throughout the region.”

The effort to spur interest — specifically from out-of-town visitors — appears to have worked in recent years. During the 2022 run, Jewish Museum Milwaukee and the Harley-Davidson Museum both had an increase in visitors of well over 50%.

Museum Days also offers an opportunity to return to beloved Milwaukee institutions that badly need support and others that will soon change forever.

For instance, the Mitchell Park Domes have been struggling for years, structurally and financially, and have mesh netting installed, a safety measure after there was some fallen debris. The county-owned horticultural spheroids do not generate enough revenue to cover their annual operations and have been structurally compromised for nearly a decade, and their future is uncertain. Milwaukee County policymakers have been scrambling for a solution for years. A new study will, for the first time, take an earnest look at the possibility of demolishing the structures.

Another popular Milwaukee museum that isn’t in danger of going away, but will almost certainly never be the same, is the Milwaukee Public Museum. The nonprofit that operates the museum is in the process of developing a new $240 million home for the institution. But it will be very different, with everything from the museum’s name to some of its most popular exhibits slated for change.

Participating Institutions

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