Chapter Four- Milwaukee Public Museum


Things you should know about the Milwaukee Public Museum:

1) Mondays are free days for Milwaukee County residents, yay!  But be prepared for it to be really crowded (I mean reeeally crowded) on those days.  I found killer meter parking for $3 on Wells St., but my friends had to pay $15 and park at the Convention Center.  We got to skip the long line to purchase tickets, because there was a nice lady at the door handing out wrist bands to MKE County residents who just wanted general admission.

2) Strollers are not allowed in the special exhibitions.  So if, let’s say, you have a 3 year old and 1 year old twins, best not bother purchasing tickets to see the Pirates Exibition.  There are three floors (plus the ground floor on which you enter) of permanent exhibits about different cultures & climates, cities, wildlife, the Milwaukee community, art, history, science and SO MUCH more.

3) Strollers are also not allowed in the (very cool) butterfly garden on the first floor.  So you might just have to juggle two toddlers on your person and lose a shoe and get really sweaty because it’s hot and you’re frantically (but slowly and gently as not to hurt a butterfly) looking for said shoe while stopping to look at and enjoy the beauty of a butterfly landing on your hand.



4) If a Milwaukee resident, you must see The Streets of Old Milwaukee.  The exhibit showcases what life was like in Old Milwaukee with its shops, businesses, models, and gaslit lanes paved of bricks and blocks.  There are even wooden plank sidewalks!  Talk about exposing your kids to new environments.  I truly feel transported to a very different time and space when I’m there.  It’s darkened, sort of miniature, and gives a visual representation of what life was like for those who established this fine city.  Many of the artifacts have been donated by members of our community, and are so interesting to view…like large dioramas.

5) If your entourage is large enough, a nice docent might offer the freight elevator for your use.  We learned that this freight elevator is called the “Elephant Elevator”.  When the docent asked us if we knew why it was named that, my hilarious friend replied “because it never forgets”.


6) On the subject of witty friends, it’s advantageous to have one to do things such as help wrangle your children and bring delicious baguettes from Rocket Baby Bakery.  The baguettes will be much better than the museum’s mediocre and expensive food. So bring snacks and drinks for your kids to eat in the lobby when they’re reached their limit.  Even on this super crowded day, we found a table to seat all 8 of us.

7) I think it would take you at least a dozen trips to even scrape the surface of the material displayed in this museum.  I think it suits school age kids better than very young, too.  I’d say that if you have littles with you, don’t expect to dive too deep into the information.  That said, the first floor is home to the Puelicher Butterfly Wing where little kids can try on costumes, get into cocoons and be more hands-on.  Also, right next to the Butterfly Wing is Exploring Life on Earth, where kids can see science in action by pressing buttons (animatronics and hands-on labs as museum folks say).  


This is definitely an adventure I’ll repeat.  Hopefully with and without kids.  This blog is an effort to do a few things, one of which is engage in my community.  I now see that this is an opportunity for me to take a history lesson, on my own terms.


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