Friday 20 July, 2012

Day 35 – The Milwaukee Public Museum


The Museum is world renowned for its wildlife displays, dioramas and it’s revolutionary depictions of early life on earth. Some of my best memories are of field trips to see the exhibits. I was awed by the life size dinosaurs and fascinated by the meticulously created dioramas that created 3d environments that feel enormous inside [...]


The Museum is world renowned for its wildlife displays, dioramas and it’s revolutionary depictions of early life on earth.
Some of my best memories are of field trips to see the exhibits. I was awed by the life size dinosaurs and fascinated by the meticulously created dioramas that created 3d environments that feel enormous inside some very small space. A perfect combination of science,art and theater. In fact the first wildlife habitat diorama was created for the Milwaukee Public Museum over 100 years ago. It featured muskrats.

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The museum has a butterfly exhibit. Between two air locked doors is a humid room filled with hundreds of butterflies of many species. Being surrounded by these delicate little flying flowers was a uniquely beautiful and moving experience. It felt like pure grace was fluttering all around me.

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The highlight of the visit though is the museums first exhibit, the Streets of Old Milwaukee. It’s a recreation in 3/4 scale of a downtown street at the turn of the (last) century. As a child I was thrilled by the magic of turning a corner in a building and finding myself transported to another time and place. I remember going into the cinema and seeing a silent movie complete with live piano accompaniment. It was Miles’ “Trip to the Moon“. It is considered the first science fiction film ever made and still has a magical quality to it. The whole experience was like nested russian dolls of wonderful ness.

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Sorry the pictures are so dark. The exhibit is a nighttime scene, which is perfect, it makes the whole street feel mysterious while hiding the many theatrical tricks used to pull off the illusion.

3 Comments

  • Bruce says:

    So awesome! That was so magical. My other favorites were the African village and the exhibit with the moon. Brings back memories. Thanks for the pictures

  • Bruce says:

    There was also one with a rattlesnake . You could touch a button mounted in front of the scene to make it rattle. I spent a lot of time hearing my name shouted in whispery shouts from another room after having hit that button repeatedly for what seemed like hours.

    • scottw919 says:

      Yes, the rattlesnake was off to the side of the buffalo hunt diorama. I looked for it but they must have taken it away. No doubt the staff was tired of being driven crazy by every small boy that passed through the hall.


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