Museums on Milwaukee’s Lakefront

It’s been a while since I’ve lived in Brew Town, almost two decades ago.  The two attractions I’m posting about did not exist, as they stand today, when I made my brief stint in this particular city, as their buildings are rather new additions.  I wish that they had.  They were fun, interesting, and were exhibited in beautiful buildings worth the price of admission.

I’ll start off by saying that, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m not a huge art lover.  I could, maybe, rattle off a handful of well known artists.  However, despite that fact, I took one look at an architectural wonder that housed art, both modern and classic, and was sold.  That architectural wonder resides on Milwaukee’s Lakefront.

Along with the art museum stands another venue, focusing on science and technology.  The Discovery World museum, from what I read, sounded somewhat appealing.  As it turned out, as there are a ton of interactive exhibits, I felt it was geared more for children.  Yet, I delighted in areas such as the Reiman Aquarium.

I make my way from an underground parking garage to the admission desk of Discovery world.  I receive a discount, as I am a veteran, and am permitted to examine the exhibits.  Leaving the desk,  I find myself striding a sleek and stylish hall lined with glass panels, overlooking the spider webbed fractures in the Ice of  Lake Michigan.

Entering the aquatic area, I feel a certain sense of appreciation for the individuals that worked on this educational Exhibit.  It’s cool to survey the Great Lakes, replicated to scale, as a model of the watershed lies before me in a giant room.  Along with the Lakes, the cities, such as Milwaukee and Toronto, that benefit from these bodies of water are labeled in their corresponding locations.

I find my way to a staircase and discover a model of schooner when I reach the top.  The vessel appears to be suspended in air, as I venture aboard.  This is Wisconsin’s flagship dubbed the ‘Dennis Sullivan’.  Around the schooner are all sorts of interactive exhibits.  I take notice of a feature on ground water in the city.

Leaving the exhibits behind, a flight of stairs descend into my favorite part of the Museum.  The Reiman Aquarium has various marine life cased in glass.  These fish can be viewed in some fun ways- the setting is immensely enjoyable.  Along with the Aquarium, a model of a submarine allows for some fun educational experiences.

Beyond the Aquatic area lies a second exhibit area.  Here, There is a gamut of interactive displays.  Heavy equipment to robotics exhibits can lend some insight, especially to the group of school children that happen to be visiting this day.

Although there are some great features here, I’m slightly let down.  It seems there could be more to experience.  Like I said, the aquarium was very cool.  Yet, I’m done in less than an hour.  Possibly, if I had brought children the time spent would have been longer.  The museum is adding an addition and I’ll be more than happy to visit once its done.

I drive from one underground parking garage to the next.  This time I find myself under a monumental structure, finished in 2015, designed by Eero Saarinen, David Kahler and Santiago Calatrava. The addition of the building literally changes the impression I have of the lakefront’s landscape, even the parking garage is attractive.

As I enter the enormous lobby, I’m struck by the artistic prowess of the designers.  Not only is the building hip, stylish, artistically breath-taking, and simply mind-blowing, it also houses some pretty cool art.

I’m amused, beginning to stroll the high white walls of the modern art exhibits, as this is exactly how I’ve always envisioned a trendy art museum.  I’m not thrilled nor am I bored.  I don’t find the art mega interesting either.  My state of mind rests somewhere in the middle of these adjectives.  I’m taking in creativity and skill at its pinnacle, as they’re expressed with vessels such as wood, rock, steel and canvas.

Set off from the high white walls, lie darker hued borders encompassing older classic art.  There is much to view from European to Egyptian and Mediterranean  I’ve experienced classic art in a world class venue before, this does not fall far short.

As I’ve admitted, I know very few artists.  Today, I learn new names as I discover some striking pieces, especially those on canvas.  Among those works and names, one is Francisco de Zurbanan.  His portrayal of St. Francis is quite dark.  I’m left imagining dark wizards of non existant realms, not a representative of the Catholic church.

I find myself struck by works as I work my way through the four floors.  There are compelling sculptures, wood carving and brilliant paintings.  When I’m finished I’m refreshed and satisfied.  This is what an art museum should be.

I don’t have the insight of an art critic, or even educated one appreciates such subjects.  However, these pieces register both on an intellectual and emotional level for me.  I experience that emotion one has when someone discovers something pleasing.

These two venues are set in freshly constructed buildings, even if the museums have existed long before.  Its a trendy answer to neighboring Chicago’s Museum campus although their is more to be experienced in the windy city.  One must pay for parking at both lakefront Museums, but compared to Chicago’s Prices the admission is quite reasonable.

I enjoyed the time spent and will return to these sights

3 responses to “Museums on Milwaukee’s Lakefront”

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