10 Museums and Galleries To Explore When In Wisconsin (2022)
Any new country or state you visit, Museums there always are a go-to attraction. When we talk about Wisconsin, certain incredible museums become a must-visit. Wisconsin museums may not be the greatest of all in the United States, though visiting them is worth it for an art lover. Apart from Art, another reason Wisconsinites are crazy about their museums is the State’s rich history. Believe us, the heritage and culture you will find inside these four walls are interesting and worth knowing about.
Wisconsin museums (mostly) are free to explore, and you can be a local or tourist; the administration will treat your incredibly. From popular to hidden and weird, there are a wide variety of Wisconsin museums to cover.
10 Museums and Galleries to Explore When in Wisconsin
So without much ado, let’s start with the list of the most popular museums in Wisconsin to visit.
1. Milwaukee Public Museum
A world of Natural science and human history, the Milwaukee Public Museum is a must-visit museum in Wisconsin. It is located in downtown Milwaukee and inspires and excites young minds through its exhibitions and programs. It has been serving people since 1884 and is also one of the oldest running museums in the State.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is home to over 4 million objects housed in travelling and permanent exhibits. One of the highlights here is the Streets of Old Milwaukee, which alone has attracted several million guests since its compilation. Walking inside, one can see King Tut on his chariot or observe a Saber-Toothed cat and other extinct groups from the ice age. Further, step down to the butterfly garden and interact with multiple colourful and lively butterflies. From watching a Planetarium show to learning about new technologies, there’s so much to do here.
2. Chazen Museum of Art
The best museum to explore when in Wisconsin, the Chazen Museum of Art, is praise-worthy. The museum is located in the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus and is home to Wisconsin’s second-largest art collection. Inside this art treasure trove, one can come across over 23,000 pieces of Art, growing larger with every passing day. Within its 176,000 square feet huge collection space, there are objects imported from the world and across.
While walking inside, you will come across art discoveries from Mughal India, ancient Greece, Soviet rule, modern-day Africa, 18th century Japan and more. Besides respecting and promoting the local artists, you can find an array of contemporary Art added to the scene. From permanent to rotating exhibitions, there goes a lot inside Chazen Museum of Art. While the museum is free to explore, you still have to book an appointment before visiting.
3. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is another free to explore museum located in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital. While walking past State Street, one can easily spot the museum with its triangular glass façade. Inside there are four galleries, each filled with special interests holding on to people for long and good. These 51,500 square feet of interior space is home to nearly 6,000 objects, including Chicago Imagists’ finest collection in the entire nation.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has exhibits from emerging artists as well as from influential and notables. There are even special galleries for sound-based and film-based artwork, which is also one of the highlights here. Though what impresses here is the rotating art exhibits that significantly are the biggest draw. Lastly, when you are done with all the art galleries, check out their Rooftop sculpture garden and enjoy the city views. Any art lover who has been here claims it as the most imposing building in Madison.
4. The Patrick and Beatrice Haggarty Museum of Art
Simply referred to as ‘the Haggarty’, this art museum is another must-visit in Wisconsin. The museum is located inside Marquette University and is home to over 4,500 art pieces. The range includes photographs, paintings, sculptures, Woodworks, pictures and more. Along with the permanent exhibit, Haggarty also features nine rotating exhibits annually, the finest attraction here. More than the permanent collection, it is what draws and engages the visitors most.
The Patrick and Beatrice Haggarty Museum of Art is free to explore and operate daily. From Monday through Saturday, one can visit anytime from 10 am to 4:30 pm and till 5 pm (on Sunday). For free parking, visitors can access from 11th St between WI and Clybourn Ave, right at lot J. Despite being small, it is one of the museums you can spend some quality time at.
5. World Of Accordions
The largest Accordion Museum on earth, World of Accordions, is a piece of cake you should effort for. Also, there’s isn’t a second building (museum) that is entirely exhibiting Accordion in the entire United States. World of Accordions is located in the small Midwestern town of Superior and is still looking forward to its share of popularity. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t impress you. It may be not for everyone, but if you are interested in music and instruments, the sight inside will blow your mind.
While your walk through the World of Accordions, it will introduce you to over 1,300 accordions of all shapes, sizes, colours, and designs. The interesting part of the entire collection here is its arrangement into chronological order. This placement not only shows various instrument but also show their evolution over time. For anyone interested, it is an experience to see the history of Accordions from all across the world.
6. Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Kenosha’s Dinosaur Discovery Museum is a wonderful site, a museum that connects the modern world to the ancient Dinosaur. It is the only museum (dedicated) in the world that focuses upon the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs. It beautifully presents one of the most complete fossil records and the largest skeletal cast collection of theropods in North America. For anyone interested in Palaeontology, this museum will excite and surprise you at the same time.
Currently, the museum associated with Carthage Institute of Paleontology (CIP) and its on-site laboratory is continuing its research in Dinosaurs. However, regardless of the intensity, it is known for, the Dinosaur Discovery Museum is an absolute delight. Not only adults but even kids can have their best time by engaging in multiple activities here. Especially the fossil digs and the dinosaur play area is a must-visit when with kids.
7. Madison Children’s Museum
Madison Children’s Museum is a one-of-a-kind interactive space dedicated to kids under 12 years. It covers 3 floors right at 100 N Hamilton St in Madison. The museum features arts, sciences, history, culture, and health exhibits. It aims towards the engaging, challenging, and inspiring kids in a very playful form. The idea is to emphasise the importance of playful learning in a young life.
Madison Children’s Museum host daily programs, ideally the most attractive element here. What engages kids the most are the passive activities, including building materials, the painted wall, clay play. Every month, they have dedicated theme days, another major draw for kids. Apart from the interactive segment, one can also visit their in-house café.
8. Menominee Museum
A place that educates about the Menominee people of Wisconsin, the Menominee Museum deserve a place in your itinerary. The site has two museums, including Menominee Indian Tribe Cultural Museum and Menominee Logging Camp Museum. While the former is open all year round, the latter welcomes visitors only from May through October. Entry for both museums is paid, and the tickets are sold individually.
The land these museums are on today has once been home to original indigenous Wisconsin residents. The communities thrived here for thousands of years, and since then, fascinating history has survived on this land. Both the museums are small, inexpensive and a tour of an hour will do justice to the time and visit. There’s also one gift shop selling some great books and craft items.
9. James Newman Clark Bird Museum
Located inside the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, the James Newman Clark Bird Museum is a landmark you cannot avoid. Inside a circular building, the museum features over 500 bird species, all from the personal collection of James Newman Clark. The collection has most of the things (almost everything) Clark stocked from 1870 through 1920.
While you walk inside the museum, you will come across specimens of several local and non-local birds. Some of the major highlights here include a now-extinct passenger pigeon species, a golden eagle and a special bald eagle. For absolutely free admissions, the museum is ideal for visitors of all age groups.
10. National Mustard Museum
One of the unique museums in Wisconsin, the National Mustard Museum, is impressive. This quirky attraction is located in downtown Middleton and is known for its collection of prepared Mustard. Yes, you read that right, a huge collection of Mustard belongs to different parts of the world. Started with a dozen of jars, today it has reached up to 5300 mustard varieties. Not only that, but the mustard collection here is the biggest in the world as well.
The building downstairs has a small but fantastic museum; however, upstairs, they have a gift shop. If you are a mustard fanatic, you can spend hours here learning about Mustard’s history and the making process. Along with that, the collection here also has an antique collectable mustard bowl. Lastly, before going back, you can also taste several mustard samples and even shop them along.