Milwaukee, Wis- On west Wells street in Milwakee, Wis there stand many majestic buildings but at 800 west wells street one of these buildings holds a treasure trove of of Natural history and artifacts. The Milwaukee Public museum is impressive and filled to the brim with everything I ever could want in a public museum.
One inside the Milwaukee Public Museum or MPM. The first thing I see is the Hebior Mammoth and then grand hallways leading to the ticket counters, cafe and gift shops. With Museum map in hand I make my way to the stairs leading up to the First floor, As I look up and above me, A Massive 36 foot long Skeleton of a Humpback Whale looms directly over head, Located on the floor at the top of the steps is the Herzfeld hall of Science. The sense of wonder showcase collection of Skeletons, Taxidermy and cultural artifacts. This leaves me with a decision, Do I go left and venture down the streets of the old Milwaukee exhibit or do I go explore the The third planet exhibit on the right. I turn from left to right and caught sight of a Torosaur and off I go to the Third planet. Dinosaurs roar and make sounds in the distance as I take time to look at the gem and mineral collection showcase. There is a is a small portion of the hall that looks like a cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. This leads me to a prehistoric sea of the Silurian Reef and beyond that come the source of of the dinosaur sounds. A realistic scene of a T.rex eating a triceratops in an ancient forest. This is the Hell's creek formation T.Rex.
Leaving the T.Rex behind I find the glacier area and raise of mammals, I step on the fake ice floor of the glacier cave and look deeper into it. It is so real looking that I expect the walls to be icy cold and the floor to be slippery but it's not.
The Rain Forest exhibit is close by and interestingly done. Rock and plants offset the glass display cases that feature taxidermy Tropical rain forest flora and fauna. This exhibit tells the sigh seeing story of an expedition into the Costa Rican rain forest, complete with a working waterfall and video education center.
This unparalleled exhibit is the result of five years of research, design and construction. In March 1986, a field expedition team of 15 MPM biologists and artists traveled to the rain forest of Costa Rica for two weeks of collecting and research. With the help of biologists from the National Museum of Costa Rica, the expedition gathered materials to help bring a tropical rain forest to Milwaukee.
More than four hundred impression molds of leaves, flowers, fruits and tree bark were made. Several thousand insects were collected along with several hundred birds and mammals, following the strict international guidelines on collecting wildlife. Scientists and artists spent hours recording the sounds and sketching the beauty of the rain forest.
As I leave the sights and sounds of the rain forest behind I check out the exploring Earth exhibit, this hands-on area offers a chance to explore science through animatronics and hands-on labs. You can view and learn about various collections of fossils, plants and animals.
This brings me to the Jack Puelicher Butterfly garden where various species of butterflies live, Here I tread carefully, paying close attention to where every step is placed, then standing still to watch as beautifully colored butterflies float pass and land on plants or people. In this area WE are the furniture that the Butterflies rest upon. A perfect example is young Sarah sitting still as a large Electric Blue Morpho butterfly lands on her shirt and is content to stay there a while. While there are many different butterflies here, I choose the Electric blue Morpho to stalk and in exchange it decides to stalk back. Landing on close-by plants, fluttering in mid air, Landing on my shoulder. Anywhere that my camera is not pointed at for it's picture. This becomes a game of joy and amusement. Finally my chance comes and I get several nice pictures of this beauty.
After checking my reflection in the mirrors provided to make sure no butterflies are escaping the area, I exit and head to the Bugs alive! Exhibit. There are live bugs from all around the world here, Bullet ants, tarantulas, assassin bugs, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Walkingsticks, a vinegaroon and Jade-headed buffalo beetles, white-eyed assassin bugs and a 100-legger a giant desert centipede from the American southwest. These creepy crawlies are well contained in their enclosures and are an educational learning experience.
I check the time on my parking meter ticket and decide there is enough time for me to walk the streets of old Milwaukee and the European village before I have to go outside and add more time. Thus giving myself a Hour and half time budget per floor to explore.
The old Milwaukee exhibit feature the city streets as they would have looked back in at the turn of the century. Storefronts and houses line the street with lamplights adding a glow. A candy store front leads into an actual working candy store with old time hard candies. I make a selection from the assortment of candy stick choices and hard bubble gum balls. This gives me a chance to break my ten dollar bill and get quarters and ones for the dreaded parking meter. Tucking my bag of goodies away into my purse, I stroll down the street to the European Village. Sounds of polka type music can be heard and the village is in view. This remake of a 1875 village is frozen in time complete with Folk art, music and building structures. The only thing missing is the people. It's almost eerie as you stand near the water well in the village center and look around. It is almost like the feeling you get when at the closing hours of a small town festival. The vibe of celebration is still in the air filling it with energy but the people have all gone home for the night. An so I leave this sleepy village to it forever night time post celebration. I have a parking meter to feed and two more floors of museum to explore.
The Second floor of the museum is home to the Native American tribes, North American wildlife and Special Exhibits. The first thing viewed as I step off the escalators is a rotating depiction of a Native American pow wow. The Indian Country powwow figures are based on life casts of Indian people representing Wisconsin's seven tribes. The local American Indian community has dedicated hundreds of hours to the fabrication of the powwow outfits and drum used in the exhibit.
I am most intrigued with one particular exhibit on this floor and that is the Aztalan artifacts. These artifacts come from a Wisconsin archaeological site. There is a lot of interesting stories about the Aztalan culture. Stories, myths and legends that will be the fuel for future road trips and research.
I make my way through the wondering halls of North americans Native tribes, Beginning with the Northwest coast to the Rocky mountains and Navajos and Hopi tribes to the tribes of the southwest and and southeast. The exhibit hall then starts to focus on the wild life in each of these areas. Passing by the Broadleaf forest I soon find the Aztalan exhibit in the Wisconsin archeology exhibit.
The Aztalan collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum is composed of over 3600 archaeological artifacts primarily excavated and collected by Dr. Samuel A. Barrett in the field seasons of 1919, 1920, and 1932. This collection is the largest assemblage of cultural remains from a single North American archaeological site in the Milwaukee Public Museum.
The hall leads onto to exhibits of Wisconsin's wildlife and plants. Showing rare birds species of Wisconsin and is woodland animals. A flock of Canadian geese are suspended from the ceiling above and point the way to the rest of Wisconsin's woodland exhibit. The final exhibit on this floor for me is the Bison hunt with its realistic humans and animals.
The Third floor is next and I am truly looking forward to it. With exhibits ranging from the living oceans, Asia, Egyptian mummies. I decide to start at in the Latin America exhibit and work my way around. Each cultural exhibit shows the buildings and structures that you might see while walking the streets or paths. Artifacts, Costumes and animals from each part of the world are showcased with the culture and people that lived and worked with them. The African villages and landscapes are filled with
Artifacts and Taxidermy animals. Including Timba, an African elephant that first came the MPM in 1911.
The Egyptian Mummies and Moroccan exhibit complete this area and offer insight into the why and how that went into preserving the Nile areas dead.
The Living Oceans exhibit is next and very well done. A collection of Shells from around the world fill over 5 display cases. The ocean exhibit is formed around a mock lighthouse and as you walk along the downward wrapping tunnel, Windows along the way give to glimpses into the ocean life. Each scene looking life like and real.
The Indian Market place and The Asia exhibit are nearby. These showcases and displays offer a look into Ancient cultures who's traditions are still carried on today. The Asian exhibit showcases Homes from China, Korea, and Japan. Each richly decorated with carvings and cultural traditions.
For more information on the Milwaukee Public Museum please go to
Milwaukee Public Museum
800 W Wells St,
Milwaukee, WI 53233
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
9:00 am – 8:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
MPM Admission + Dome Theater Show
Children (3-12) & Senior (60+) $17.00
MPM Admission Only
Children (3-12) & Senior (60+) $11.00
Dome Theater Show Only
Children (3-12) & Senior (60+) $7.00