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Milwaukee Art Museum

700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Right on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the nation—with perhaps the most striking architecture of them all. Though the museum’s 25,000 works have plenty of appeal, you’ll also want plenty of time to explore the grounds, imagining the museum’s shiplike structure setting out to sea.

Highlights of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 40 galleries include works by Monet, Picasso, and Warhol. You’ll also find a massive collection of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work; even though she’s known for her New Mexico landscapes, the famous painter was born in Wisconsin. Outside, there's a white structure reminiscent of a ship, with masts and sails emerging from its top and rear. The facility on Lake Michigan was designed by three famous architects: Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, and Santiago Calatrava.

  • Bring your headphones and smartphone to use the museum’s free audio guides.

  • The museum is four levels and wheelchair-accessible. Manually operated wheelchairs are available from the admissions desk.

  • Café Calatrava, on the ground level, is a fantastic spot for Mediterranean-inspired fare and great views of the water.

  • Photography for personal use is encouraged; just don’t use that flash or your selfie stick.

  • Catch the Burke Brise Soleil (aka the museum’s exterior “wings”) opening and closing at noon, weather permitting.

If you’re driving, park in the museum’s underground parking garage (for a fee). If you’re walking, the main entrance on Art Museum Drive is accessible from the pedestrian-only Reiman Bridge, which connects to downtown. The cafe entrance is on the Oak Leaf Trail.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you want to see the museum “set sail,” the wings open and close when the museum opens and closes, and at noon. And though the museum is certainly a year-round venture, it’s nice to visit during sunny weather, so you can spend some time exploring the grounds as well.

For a picturesque journey to the museum, start at the Mark di Suvero sculpture, just west of the Reiman Pedestrian Bridge. As you move toward and over the water, you’ll get the best view of the Burke Brise Soleil (again, the museum’s “wings”), which makes for a great photo. Or reverse this trip, and take the bridge right into downtown Milwaukee.

Home to 30,000-plus works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is the largest art museum in Wisconsin. It holds an impressive collection of paintings from Georgia O’Keeffe (born and bred in the Badger State). You'll also find works from the Postimpressionists Degas and Monet and avant-garde artist Andy Warhol.

Yes. The museum strives to keep its collections entertaining for kids. That includes ArtPacks, a grab-bag of activities for children, and SketchPacks, art supplies that kids can borrow. Families can learn about the artists on display using free Family Guides— fact-filled booklets meant to enhance your self-guided experience.

Yes, you can. You can take photos or videos for personal use, but leave the selfie sticks and drones at home. You are alson’t permitted to use your flash because it can damage the art. The museum can be rented out for personal photoshoots for weddings or other events (prices vary).

Yes. Students, military personnel, and senior citizens aged 65 and up benefit from reduced entry fees. Kids under 12 and Wisconsin K-12 teachers with valid IDs can enter the Milwaukee Art Museum free of charge. Anyone with a museum membership gets free, unlimited admission and discounts on special events.

Yes. The Milwaukee Art Museum offers docent-led tours for groups of 10 or more. The museum is included as a stop on self-led audio tours through the city. If you’re interested in combining fun challenges with a stop at the museum, consider a self-paced scavenger hunt via smartphone.

Yes. The Milwaukee Art Museum regularly hosts special drop-in tours with a museum docent. Docent-led tours are included with admission to the museum. Special events for kids include “story time” when children’s books are read aloud in the gallery. Look for craft workshops in Kohl’s Art Studio, too.


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