Sunday, May 6, 2012

Milwaukee Museum Mile

Another dreary weekend in Milwaukee.  A great weekend to spend some time checking out some of the city's wonderful museums.  We have a great collection of museums besides the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Public Museum, and this weekend residents from around the area were able to tour 5 of them for free.  Known collectively as the Milwaukee Museum Mile, the tour consisted of the Charles Allis Art Museum, Jewish Museum Milwaukee, Museum of Wisconsin Art at St. John's On the Lake, North Point Lighthouse, and Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.

After having breakfast down on Brady Street and taking some shots for future challenges down by the lake, I started my tour at the Charles Allis Art Museum.  Charles Allis was an heir to Allis-Chalmers, a manufacturing company in Milwaukee known mostly for producing tractors.  Charles Allis was only in charge of Allis Chalmers for about 6 years, but he built up enough of a fortune to purchase an amazing collection of art from around the world in the early part of the 20th century.  The collection is on display in the house he shared with his wife Sarah designed by architecht Alexander Eschwiler.  Unfortunately, due to many security cameras placed around the museum, I was nervous about taking any photos.

The next place I toured was the Jewish Museum Milwaukee (shown above).  This place is truly a hidden gem, and I will now tell anyone who visits Milwaukee they have to check it out, whether they are of Jewish descent or not.  Starting from the early 1800's when the first exodus of Jewish immigrants came to the city, to the zionism movement, it was truly fascinating.  I had no idea so many local (and national) businesses were started by the Jewish immigrants who came here.  Although some immigrants used carts to sell their wares, as shown in this photo:

Appropriately, an extensive part of the permanent exhibit was dedicated to Jewish descrimination, including the Holocaust.  Another thing I learned today was that in the mid-1920's, there was a quota on how many Jewish persons could be brought into America.  Whether or not this led to the massive amounts of Jews exterminated during WWII, I can't be sure. 

In front of the museum, there is a very respectful memorial to the Jews lost during the Holocaust, shown below:

From there, I took the (free) shuttle to Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.  This is a really cool museum that looks like it's right out of Florence, Italy.  Below, I took a picture of the museum (right) and two of its neighbors.  This diversity of styles, in this case Victorian, Greek and Italian, is indictative of many streets in Milwaukee.  We are a land of immigrants after all, and I think it's great that architechts and designers have the guts to mix styles in such a bold way.

Villa Terrace was onced owned by Lloyd Smith, owner of A.O. Smith, a company that produced hot water heaters. 

Next, I visited the North Point Lighthouse.  The highlight of this museum is you can go up to the top of the lighthouse and look out over Lake Michigan.  I, instead, chose to take a look at the bridge in back, which makes up one of Milwaukee's many parks.  That's where I took a picture of the lion, one of many that ornament a lovely bridge and pathway throughout the park.  Back inside, there is a very interesting set of exhibits detaling the lighthouse's history, including one woman who saved lives by keeping the light going for 30 years.

Although this was a special event to attract more visitors to these spectacular museums, I hope this will inspire tourists and locals alike to check them out.  For more information on the Milwaukee Museum Mile, visit

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that I found your blog from the hop. We just visited Milwaukee last week and are thinking about returning for a longer visit, so I will put some of these on our list. We are blogging from the Chicago burbs. Check us out at:

    Mel S