Milwaukee Museum Days is right around the corner! In celebration of the city’s countless exceptional museums, from January 18 – 28, you can get discounts and deals on admission to 30 museums throughout the area. From a $15 ticket to the Harley-Davidson Museum and Milwaukee Public Museum to $5 admission to the Jewish Museum Milwaukee and the Milwaukee County Historical Society, you can discover all the awe-inspiring, creativity-stoking museums around town.
To add a little challenge to Milwaukee Museum Days, we’ve created a scavenger hunt including 15 of the museums participating in the week. See if you can find them all!
National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum: Big Bobble Bobby
Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! Milwaukee’s Official Hype Man, the 2021 NBA Champion Bucks big man, Bobby Portis, is all over the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum. Although several Bobby bobbleheads can be found throughout the museum, one stands out as Bobby-sized. Standing a little shy of his real-life 6’10” stature, if you look closely, you can find a three-foot-tall bobblehead of the Bucks fan favorite holding the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Mitchell Park Domes: Meet Steve
An architectural marvel and as unique a space as any in Milwaukee, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is the only stop on this list that’s a living museum. Complete with rare plants and flowers indigenous to the tropics and deserts, no matter what the weather outside brings, it’s always a beautiful day under the domes. In addition to foliage, this living museum has several residents, including Steve the bearded dragon. See if you can find Steve!
Milwaukee Public Museum: Snake Button
A Cream City classic, the snake button at the Milwaukee Public Museum is a must-do. Legend has it, that if you look closely at the museum’s A Tribute to Survival exhibit, there’s a magic button that triggers a rattlesnake's tail, warning all of its presence. Explore the exhibit and discover the history, culture and traditions of Native Americans in Wisconsin and the hundreds of diverse tribes that settled in the Milwaukee area before you uncover the elusive button.
Harley-Davidson Museum: Ride with Evil Knievel
With more than 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles ranging from model No. 1 to a tsunami-surviving bike that made a trans-Pacific voyage, the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum is the mothership for the iconic bike brand. However, among the unique attractions and beautifully curated collection rests a unique piece of Americana: An Evil Knievel-themed video game. Underneath the hog of the legendary daredevil, you can recreate some of his greatest stunts on an arcade-style console as you wow the crowd with your incredible gravity-defying stunts. Find the game and take the leap!
America’s Black Holocaust Museum: Freedom-Lover's Role Call Wall
The country’s first museum dedicated to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow in America; America’s Black Holocaust Museum tells the story of the African American experience from pre-captivity to today. Founded by the only known survivor of a lynching, Dr. James Cameron, the museum functions as both a historical and memorial museum to promote racial repair, reconciliation and healing to create a brighter tomorrow for our society. The museum’s special exhibits include The Freedom-Lovers’ Roll Call Wall, asking visitors to take a pledge against hatred and injustice and a promise to work toward racial equity and human rights for all.
Discovery World: Plaster-filled Les Paul Guitar
You’ve heard of heavy metal, now get ready for plaster-filled guitar. While it’s not a genre of music you’d expect to see topping the top 40, this segment of Les Paul’s House of Sound at Discovery World delves into Les Paul’s invention of some of the most well-known guitars on the planet. This piece helps describe part of the process Paul used to hone the sound on his guitars, filling a guitar with plaster to isolate the sound of the strings. Test it out for yourself and hear the difference!
Grohmann Museum: Rooftop Sculpture Garden
The Grohmann Museum is the largest, most comprehensive museum on the planet dedicated solely to human work. Throughout the space, you’ll find more than 1,700 paintings, sculptures and other works that tell the story of the evolution of work throughout the centuries, dating back to biblical times. In warmer days, the museum has a striking rooftop garden with great views of the city and larger-than-life-sized sculptures of the craftsmen who have helped build society across the generations. If you look carefully from the street, you can still see them working on the roof all year long.
Pabst Mansion: Hops Galore
The historic homestead of Captain Frederick Pabst, one of the city’s preeminent brewers, the Pabst Mansion is a place out of time. The magnificently restored mansion is stunningly intricate, with beautifully handcrafted elements down to the rich imported Italian floors. One of the most fascinating details of the building is the incorporation of the Pabst’s cash cow, hops, incorporated in design elements all over the building. From the banister to the stained glass window, see how many you can count!
Milwaukee Art Museum: A Janitor Taking a Break
Another city staple, the Janitor is an essential stop on any visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum. A work of art in- itself, the fixture along Milwaukee’s lakefront is home to more than 32,000 works of art across 40 galleries. It’s home to one of the largest collections of Georgia O’Keefe paintings in the country, a rare Haitian art collection and was one of the first museums to spotlight photography in its halls. However, “Janitor,” is one of the most talked about works in the entire space. Leaning against the wall, the hyper-realistic sculpture of, you guessed it, a janitor has been a fan favorite since its addition in 1973. Stop by and say hi!
John Michael Kohler Arts Center: Stylish Washrooms
If you had toilets with flair on your bingo card for this list...no you didn’t. Located just north of Milwaukee in Kohler, the John Michael Kohler Arts Cente is home to a massive collection of self-taught and contemporary artists, with a specialty in artist-built environment exhibitions. However, among the immersive, elaborate pieces throughout the arts center, the washrooms are a sight to behold. In keeping with Kohler’s legacy as one of the premier manufacturers of faucets, showers, sinks, toilets and more, the six restrooms throughout the arts center are painstakingly detailed galleries all their own. From the youthfully crafted Childhood Vitreous to the Sheboygan Men’s Room, designed in the style of Delft and Staffordshire ceramics, you won’t want to pass up the chance to take in every square inch of these spaces.
Scavenger Hunt Total
Add up the number of stops you found during Milwaukee Museum Days to find out where you rank.
- 0-3: Gallery Novice – You got to start somewhere! Get out there and discover even more of the city’s award-winning museums today.
- 4-8: Exhibition Explorer – You’re on your way! Keep your educational expedition going during the week by visiting museums at a discounted rate.
- 9-10: Milwaukee Museum Maestro – You know the city’s museums like the back of your hand! Be sure to stop by some of your favorites or brush up on a few you haven’t visited in a while.
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