NewsLocal News


First look at the Wisconsin Journey gallery in the new Milwaukee Public Museum

The renderings depict the second of five new galleries at the museum.
Driftless Area.jpg
Posted at 11:09 AM, Mar 23, 2023

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Public Museum just released renderings of the new Wisconsin Journey gallery coming to the museum's new location.

The museum said it will be releasing renderingsand details on the new exhibits over the next few months, with the second set of renderings released Thursday.

The renderings depict the second of five new galleries at the museum. We also got details on what the new gallery will be comprised of.

Related: Milwaukee Public Museum releases renderings of new Time Travel gallery

There are four exhibits within the Wisconsin Journey gallery: Driftless, Prairie, Apostle Islands, and Northwoods.


The Driftless exhibit will show the untouched version of Wisconsin before glaciers came through and shaped the state we know now. Visitors will get to explore Wisconsin's unique geological history and the ways the land has shaped Wisconsinites and industry - specifically lead mining.

There will be a "Lead Mine Look-In" where visitors can learn how Wisconsin became known as the Badger State, and no, it has nothing to do with the animal.

“The history of lead mining is a prime example of how nature and culture intersect,” said Helen Divjak, Senior Curator, Experience and Interpretation at Thinc Design and a lead designer on the Future Museum project. “In diving deep into Wisconsin, visitors will be able to see and understand the intimate connections Wisconsinites past and present have with the land.”

There will also be a Waterways area that celebrates the lakes of the state, and a Wisconsin Dells area.

Driftless Area.jpg
The Driftless area in the new Milwaukee Public Museum.


Visitors will get to learn about what makes Wisconsin's landscape so resilient and attractive to those who cultivated it in the Prairie exhibit.

There will be a Hebior Mammoth Dig Site area as well. It will feature a Prairieland Bison Display which allows visitors to touch a cast of the Heboir Mammoth. The museum said it will be a core scene in the Prairie area, demonstrating how the giant mammoth bones emerged from the dirt.

“Visitors have long been greeted by the Hebior Mammoth, which stands in our current lobby space. Discovered in Kenosha County on the property of John Hebior, 85 percent of the mammoth’s bones are intact and present – making the find significant for that reason alone. By analyzing marks on the bones, scientists have determined the animal was alive alongside its human butchers about 14,500 years ago – proving humans were in Wisconsin 1,000 years earlier than was previously thought,” said Dr. Censky. “In the Future Museum’s Wisconsin Journey gallery, we want visitors to come to understand stories like this one that illustrates just how incredible and significant our state is to scientific discovery.”

Other exhibits in the Prairie area will show how humans impacted Wisconsin's prairies, and how those prairies support humans.

The Prairie area in the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands area will consist of immersive environmental elements and depict the beautiful natural sanctuary. There will be a Devils Island area with recreations of the rocky caves of Devils Island and a Migratory Birds area.

The Migratory Birds area will have a display of birds suspended in flight. The story of migration will be through all of Wisconsin Journey, the museum said.

Apostle Islands.jpg
The Apostle Islands area of the Milwaukee Public Museum.


The Northwoods exhibit will recognize the unique and cherished Northwoods of Wisconsin. There will be exhibits that depict the rich woodland landscape as it shifts from season to season.

The Natural Cycles in the Northwoods area of the exhibit offers diorama scenes, lighting effects, and soundscapes that transport you to Wisconsin's Northwoods. The museum said it will focus on the different seasons in Wisconsin and provide examples of how humans mark the seasons.

The museum will show how cultural practices marking seasons have evolved over time.

Northwoods Night.jpg
The Northwoods area of the new Milwaukee Public Museum.

Milwaukee Public Museum releases renderings of new Time Travel gallery

By Julia Marshall, March 7, 2023

Milwaukee Public Museum releases renderings of new Time Travel gallery

We now have a first look at the new Time Travel gallery coming to the Milwaukee Public Museum's new building!

The museum said it will be releasing renderingsand details on the new exhibits over the next few months, with the first renderings, released Tuesday.

The renderings depict the new Time Travel gallery which is dedicated to exploring the past, including when dinosaurs roamed the earth. MPM said there will be exhibits focused on three of the planet's geological chapters: the Paleozoic Era, Mesozoic Era, and Cenozoic Era.

The Palezoic Era

The Palezoic Hall will feature exhibits that look at the planetary conditions that supported evolution between 540 and 250 million years ago. There will be an immersive exhibit, called the Silurian Reef, which will show the shallow waters of the Silurian seas.

There are more than 122,000 fossils in the exhibit and an interactive portion where visitors can touch replicas of ancient sea creatures.

There will also be an exhibit, called Cambrian Trackway, showcasing a 2,600-pound slab of sandstone discovered in central Wisconsin. It contains animal tracks that are half a billion years old.

Paleozoic_Silurian Reef_1.jpg
The Silurian Reef at the new Milwaukee Public Museum exhibit.

The Mesozoic Era

Fans of the Mesozoic Era will be happy to know the gallery at the new museum will feature a favorite from the current exhibit. The Torosaur Clash, a diorama of two Torosaurs locked in battle, will be making its way over to the new facility.

The museum said at the new facility, visitors will feel like they're a part of the clash.

"The exhibit is inspired by a puncture wound on the Torosaur skeleton that, through scientific research, was determined to be caused by another Torosaur. Because of that wound, we can better understand the behavior of the species of the Cretaceous period – like how they fought over resources or mates – and what they left behind,” said Oronde Wright, Senior Exhibition Designer at Thinc Design and a lead designer on the Future Museum project.

Mesozoic_Torosaur Clash.jpg
A sneak peek at the Time Travel exhibit in the new Milwaukee Public Museum.

The Cenozoic Era

The Curtis L. and Jean E. Carter Cenozoic Hall will allow visitors to explore the evolution of mammals through fossils of saber-toothed cars and other creatures of the era. A portion of this exhibit will be the center of the Time Travel Gallery: the Hebior Mammoth Hunt.

This piece allows visitors to come face to face with the skeleton of a woolly mammoth. Above it, there's a bluff with human hunters waiting to strike.

“It’s a story of predator/prey dynamics, coevolution, adaptation and human ingenuity,” said Dr. Censky.

Cenozoic_Hebior Mammoth.jpg
The new Cenozoic Era exhibit in the Milwaukee Public Museum's new facility.

Previous coverage

The new building will be five stories tall with about 200,000 square feet of space. The museum says the outside texture will be reminiscent of the ancient sea stacks at Mill Bluff State Park in Camp Douglass.

The first floor will feature an open commons atrium inspired by the coming together of the Milwaukee, Kinnickinnic and Menomonee rivers.

In addition to the new building, the museum will have a 50,000-square-foot storage facility for additional collections not on display.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for late 2023. Residents will be able to go inside in 2026, the museum says.

The museum's current building is at 800 W. Wells St.

Key donors noted by the museum are:

  • Anonymous donors,
  • JoAnn & Richard Beightol,
  • Lynn & Douglas Brengel,
  • Bucyrus Foundation,
  • Melitta S. & Joan M. Pick Charitable Trust

It’s about time to watch on your time. Stream local news and weather 24/7 by searching for “TMJ4” on your device.

Available for download on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip