The Milwaukee Art Museum has a fascinatingly varied mix of offerings that include impressive collections of photography, American decorative art, German expressionist prints, Haitian art, American folk art, and sculpture and decorative art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. All this is in addition to many fine European and American paintings and drawings from several eras. Monet, Degas, Rodin, Picasso, Rothko, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Winslow Homer are just a few of the notable artists whose work can be found in the museum. There is an emphasis on German art here that can be traced back to Milwaukee’s status as a largely German-speaking city back in the late 1800s, when the museum’s predecessors, the Layton Art Gallery and the Milwaukee Art Association, first appeared.
Beautifully situated right on Lake Michigan, the building itself is often noted as being the finest piece of art in the museum’s collection, particularly the stunning 2001 addition known as the Quadracci Pavilion. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, it looks like a ship or a bird in air – it literally has wings. These graceful, wing-like structures are called the Burke Brise Soleil and they actually “flap” at noon each day. They are also set to automatically close in the event that outside winds reach 23mph, so as to prevent them from breaking … or to keep the museum from actually taking flight.
Milwaukee Art Museum Information
- Public Transportation: Good
- Handicapped Accessibility: Yes
- Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; closed Monday, except select holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day.
- Admission: $12 for adults; $10 for students with ID, seniors (65+), and active military. Admission is free for members and children 12 & under.
- Free Days: Milwaukee County residents (with proof of residency) get in free on Wednesdays.
- Subscription/Memberships: Memberships start at $55 (only $25 for students). Benefits include free admission for both member and accompanying child or grandchild (17 and under); unlimited access to feature exhibitions; free admission to Target Family Sundays, gallery talks, and lectures; invitations to members-only preview days, exhibition openings, and special programs; reduced rates on classes, screenings, and parking passes (purchased in advance); and 10% discount on museum store purchases.