The Waukesha County Museum, which started in a basement room of the old courthouse in 1914, houses a more-than-2,000-square-foot repository for American history. The Memories of World War II touring exhibit pays homage to veterans, photographers, and reporters with more than 100 photos from Associated Press archives in addition to testimonies and hundreds of artifacts donated by local residents. Duck into the Greatest Generation Theater for a 20-minute film that illuminates the sagas of four local surviving WWII veterans.
Completed in 1892 as the private home of the Pabst family, Pabst Mansion stands as the last bastion of more than 80 mansions built for Milwaukee’s elite during a booming, bygone era. Since its construction, the estate has housed archbishops, priests, and sisters and was saved from near-demolition during the 1970s. The Flemish-Renaissance-Revival home has since been awarded a place on the National Register of Historic Places for its bounty of architectural intricacies.
Today, on-staff docents conduct a range of tours for public groups, private parties, school groups, and well-behaved rugby teams through the fortress of halls, opulent rooms, and verdant grounds, each restored to their original condition.
The Pabst Mansion’s impressive art collection includes works from the 1640s through the 1900s by artists such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gaetano Trentanove, and Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven. The emporium of excess also features Pabst Beer Pavilion, the pavilion built for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the glass-covered conservatory where tropical plants and beer trees continue to flourish.
The mansion gift shop holds classic Pabst drinkware and memorabilia as well as antique photos, books, and former employees' original finger paintings.
The writers at Milwaukee Magazine mine cultural gems and scoop political stories each month to reflect the city's lifestyle and current events in 12 glossy issues. Subscribers join a community of 225,000 readers, who vicariously interview local celebrities and innovators and explore Milwaukee's boutiques and underwater speakeasies through the magazine's pages. Feature stories spotlight local gustatory delights, profile local businesses, and unpack economic issues, while arts and leisure articles hone cultural literacy and personal style.
Readertainment is aggregated annually in the City Guide and the Best of Milwaukee, a roundup that clearly distinguishes the lakefront's elite establishments. In addition to printed matter, Milwaukee Magazine is published online, where an event calendar and a blog roll herald potential trades for the Milwaukee Brewers, dispatches from the pressroom, and discoveries of fossilized bobby socks excavated from the Happy Days set.
Discovery World’s 120,000 square feet of exhibits celebrate exploration—both of technology and aquatic life. Guests can gaze at a 75,000-gallon freshwater tank filled with species found in the Great Lakes, stroll down a glass-enclosed tunnel beneath the 65,000-gallon saltwater tank containing colorful Caribbean fish, and admire jellyfish showing off their limber break-dance skills before getting their hands wet in touch tanks with sturgeon, stingrays, and more. The museum further satisfies thirst for watery knowledge with to-scale replicas of the Great Lakes and the Challenge, a 19th-century schooner.
Discovery World houses plenty of exhibits dedicated to innovative technology, including Les Paul’s House of Sound, which features guitars from Les Paul’s own personal collection. Visitors can also practice flying a plane and skywriting marriage proposals in the airplane simulator, or peer inside a nuclear reactor as it generates energy.
Originally built as homes for prominent Milwaukee businessmen, the Charles Allis Art Museum and Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum allow for public perusal of the eclectic collections housed within their walls. As visitors teleport from room to room within the Charles Allis, they can view works spanning two millennia of artistic endeavor in a broad range of media, including bronze sculpture, elaborate furnishings, ivories from the Far East, and Bruno Ertz watercolors of moths and insects. Barbizon School paintings inhabit the French parlor, and Hudson River School paintings congregate in the library. Villa Terrace's similarly multifaceted collection includes furniture designed by architect David Adler, a 24-panel Züber wallpaper panorama, and an extensive compilation of ironwork, photos, drawings, and blueprints from Milwaukee artisan blacksmith Cyril Colnik. Outside, its Renaissance Garden features an array of flora, a fishpond, a tram, and a water stairway that leads to a cloud shaped like an Olympic swimming pool.