5 Favorites

Apr. 9, 2010
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Harley-Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St.


The setting and design of the Harley-Davidson Museum perfectly captures the independent spirit and creative design that made the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. a dominating American icon and Milwaukee’s most revered native original. The exhibition traces the company’s history through a chronological and thematic narrative that draws from Harley-Davidson’s extensive archive of historical documentation, as well as a collection of motorcycles that begins with Harley’s first, the Serial Number One built in 1903. The three-building campus—a stunning architectural study of galvanized steel, glass-enclosed bridges and a massive four-sided tower that bears the motor company’s famous Bar & Shield logo—includes space for permanent and temporary exhibitions, the company’s archives, a restaurant and café, a retail shop and plenty of outdoor space for rallies. (Sarah Biondich)

Milwaukee Art Museum

700 N. Art Museum Drive

(414) 224-3200

With a breathtaking collection of visual art, from antiquity to the modern era, housed within an equally stunning work of architecture, the Milwaukee Art Museum may just be the city’s star attraction. Comprised of three buildings—designed by three legendary architects: Eero Saarinen, David Kahler and, most recently, Santiago Calatrava—the museum contains some 20,000 pieces, including the work of luminaries such as Monet, Picasso, Miró and Warhol. With more than 40 galleries to peruse, and with works regularly rotated in and out of exhibition, visitors can come back time and again and always find something new and striking. (Thomas Michalski)

Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W. Wells St.

(414) 278-2702

With 150,000 square feet of exhibition space spread across three floors, the Milwaukee Public Museum offers patrons the opportunity to immerse themselves in eons of natural and cultural history. The expansive, meticulously recreated dioramas of people, animals and, of course, dinosaurs in their natural environments create a unique and at times startlingly real experience of stepping into worlds lost to the past. It’s easy to see why many exhibits have earned renown across the world. Not content to coast on the success of classic exhibits such as the vast “Streets of Old Milwaukee,” the museum also features the Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater and a live butterfly habitat. (T.M.)

The Pabst Mansion

2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.

(414) 931-0808

Capt. Frederick Pabst, founder of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, was quite ahead of his time, and the Pabst Mansion is proof. The museum is evidence of elegant and modern 19th-century design, and stands as one of the few remaining Wisconsin Avenue mansions. The current exhibit, titled “Demolition Means Progress?: Milwaukee’s Lost Architecture,” continues through June 6. Tours run daily and cost $9 for adults, $8 for seniors/students, and $5 for children 6-17. (Emilee Weier)

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

2220 N. Terrace Ave.

(414) 271-3656

It is a testament to its style and design that Villa Terrace stands out among the historic, lakefront mansions that surround it. The Renaissance-style villa possesses an impressive collection of European and American artworks and features exhibitions by contemporary artists. The Renaissance Garden is Villa Terrace’s most stunning feature, particularly during the summer. The view from Lincoln Memorial Drive may be good, but the beautiful gardens and serene water stairway deserve a visit. (Emily Patti)

Photo: Harley-Davidson Museum | by Kevin Gardner


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