Milwaukee Art Museum

Peruse a vast collection of classic European and American art in this gallery that is housed in a striking modern building.

Milwaukee Museum of Art can trace its roots all the way back to 1888 as the city’s first art gallery, yet its striking modern façade is one of the museum’s most compelling exhibits. The 2001 Quadracci Pavilion extension is a dramatic addition to Milwaukee’s skyline and a winner of numerous design awards. The hand-built concrete structure looks like a cross between a gothic cathedral and a ship, with arches, “wings”, and soaring glass windows.

The museum’s permanent collection contains almost 25,000 works of art from a broad range of styles and mediums dating from the 15th century to the present day. In addition to four floors and nearly 350,000 square feet (32,500 square meters) of gallery space, there are frequent high-profile temporary exhibitions and events, an auditorium, a study center, a library and a war memorial center. Dedicate at least three hours to really explore the building and its variety of exhibits.

The museum is acclaimed nationally for its collections of American decorative arts, German impressionism, video art and Haitian artwork. The big European names on show include Degas, Rodin, Picasso, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec. Modern highlights include some of Andy Warhol’s finest works, and pieces by Mark Rothko and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The museum’s frequent temporary exhibitions are designed to capture the imagination of art lovers with shows from all over the world. Past events have featured vibrant animation art, abstract photography, optical art and interior design.

Budding young artists can attend a series of summer camps and drop-in art classes featuring hands-on activities, music-making and movie screenings.

Milwaukee Museum of Art is located on the shores of Lake Michigan just off Lincoln Memorial Drive, and is open every day except Mondays. Avoid paying for on-site parking by taking the bus or Amtrak, which stops about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the museum.

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