Explore the Milwaukee Art Museum Like a Local
As part of a summer series, T+L is highlighting amazing lesser-known attractions found in the United States. Next up: an architectural marvel housing 2,500 pieces of art.
It’s not easy to upstage Lake Michigan’s clear blue horizon, but the Milwaukee Art Museum, the city’s most Instagrammable building, might just manage it. Visitors have Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to thank for the eye-catching exterior: two graceful wings curve out over the water and have the same wingspan as a Boeing 747. The wings move, too; stop by at 10 a.m. to see them fan open, or at 5 p.m. to watch them fold closed.
Step inside and get swept up in more of the museum’s light and airy architecture, but don’t forget to immediately turn to your left to explore the featured exhibition, which changes every few months. The museum recently underwent a $34 million dollar renovation, complete with brand-new galleries. On permanent display are 2,500 works of art, including one of the world’s largest Georgia O’Keefe collections.
One must-see piece is Sunny #4, a charming oil painting of the artist’s family dog. Sunny’s portrait has become such a museum favorite, there are even Sunny plushies in the gift shop. Before you leave the modern art galleries to explore the rest of the museum, look for locally beloved sculpture, The Janitor. (You’ll know it when you see it.) Its realism has been known to startle more than a few unprepared visitors, and it’s hard to resist the photo opp.
The Milwaukee Art Museum is open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but stays open a little longer on Fridays until 8 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults, and $15 for students and seniors. It’s free for kids 12 and under, and Wisconsin teachers (with a school ID). But one of the best times to check out the museum is on the second Friday of every month, when all admission is free.