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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884; it is a not-for-profit organization operated by the Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc. There are three floors of exhibits and the first IMAX Theater in Wisconsin. Admission is free to residents of Milwaukee County on the first Thursday of every month and to Milwaukee County jurors at all times.

There are Ancient Egyptian mummies, recreated streets of Old Milwaukee, classic Mediterranean villages, exotic and intriguing Pacific Islands, and the Sense of Wonder exhibit, which highlights what Victorian museums were like, celebrating the oddity of species and showcasing a humpback whale skeleton. The planetarium is the largest and most modern in Wisconsin, filling the Dome Theater with animations and projections and immersing guests in the wonders of the universe.

From hundreds of positive reviews on, here are a few which help give you an idea: "Awesome place to spend all day or at minimum, several hours! Great Cafe, snacks, elevators for convenience, and friendly, helpful staff.", "Don't miss visiting the Milwaukee Public Museum. We could have set aside more time as it is almost impossible to see all there is to see in just a few hours. There is a new exhibit entitled Crossroads of Civilization which deals with ancient times in the east and Mediterranean areas of the world. The Streets of Old Milwaukee which I remember visiting as a child was closed for renovation, but there was so much to see. What a great learning experience!"

The good news is that The Streets of Old Milwaukee experience is soon reopening (December 2015), and should be better than ever. It will include new storefronts and businesses and reflect cultural and economic changes of the post-Industrial era. The museum hopes to create a "heightened sensory experience" that includes hands-on displays, hidden "secrets," the ability to eavesdrop on conversations from the past and even smells. A new life-size streetcar will carry visitors into the exhibit and help you travel back in time.

There are also many efforts to make the museum more accessible for everybody. Dawn Koceja, who heads the museum's accessibility efforts, explains that innovations aimed at the visually impaired grew out of a collaboration between the museum and ABLE, who provide audio and Braille transcription services to 2,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin. ABLE have helped to "change the whole mind-set of the museum" which has led to more hands-on experiences for visitors. As a result of that collaboration, the museum has committed at least $100,000 to accessibility enhancements this year alone, and Koceja will also be reaching out to other groups in the coming years.

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