Milwaukee Public Museum, Children’s Museum To Share Space

Betty Brinn Will Become Tenant Of New MPM

Milwaukee Public Museum exterior
Mark Danielson (CC-BY-NC)

The Milwaukee Public Museum, which has been considering relocation for years, says it will pursue a space in the city’s downtown that can also house the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

The two organizations announced Wednesday they plan to co-locate. Doing so creates a space where the community can enjoy two world-class museums under one roof, said Dr. Ellen Censky, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum.

“Milwaukee Public Museum has been working toward a new museum for several years now, and while we still need to finalize where that new museum will be located, we are thrilled that this alliance will enable Betty Brinn Children’s Museum to co-locate in that space,” Censky said in a written statement.

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Under the agreement approved this week by both museums boards, Betty Brinn will become a tenant of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s new building.

Brian King, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, said co-locating makes sense because the museums are two of only a handful of locations in downtown Milwaukee that are family-focused.

“We could not be more excited as we look to the future and see all the potential that this alliance with the Milwaukee Public Museum will mean,” King said.

The Milwaukee Public Museum has been planning to move from its currently Milwaukee County-owned building on the west side of downtown to a new $100 million or more building within the next decade. Museum officials have said they hope to break ground on the project by 2022.

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is privately owned and leases space from the Milwaukee Art Museum near the lakefront. The children’s museum has been contemplating relocating because it has outgrown its space.

“Even though we are years away from being under the same roof, we wanted to have discussions early on, not after the buildings were designed,” Censky said. “We are announcing this early on, but don’t expect to see anything materialize physically for several years.”

Censky said the museum board has narrowed its search to one site in downtown Milwaukee for its new location and hopes to announce it soon, once the contract is signed.

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