Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's visually stimulating Groupon: for $25, you get a one-year family membership to both the Charles Allis Art Museum and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Northpoint (a $60 value). Membership includes free year-round access for two adults and their children (18 years of age and younger) to both museums, plus free or reduced admission to many special events and programs.
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.
Members of the Charles Allis and Villa Terrace art museums are also entitled to the sort of perks and discounts normally reserved for corrupt politicians and celebrity mimes: invitations to special parties and get-togethers; reduced prices for lectures, concerts, and other events; and free admission to receptions for exhibition openings. Membership also includes complimentary admission to the Charles Allis's regular film screenings and to both museums' gardens, as well as the right to claim to know Charles Allis personally one day each year.
Four Yelpers give Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum a nearly perfect 4.5-star average:
- You really feel transported to Italy when you visit the Villa Terrence [sic]. Sitting in the courtyard and sipping a beverage is a wonderful quick little get away. – Linda K.
- Wow! Lovely. It's up on a hill immediately next to Lake Michigan. There are fountains, and Terra cotta rooftops, and a hill side waterfall. It is just lovely. – Chrissy N.
Charles Allis Art Museum and Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
It's rare for museums to have cozy dining rooms, but the Charles Allis Art Museum wasn't always a museum. Earlier in the 20th century, it was businessman and arts patron Charles Allis's Tudor-style mansion. Allis bequeathed it to the public along with his massive art collection, though, and nowadays, visitors can stop by to see pieces that span 2,000 years. Some highlights? Works by Winslow Homer, Classic antiquities, a large collection of Asian ceramics, plus rotating exhibits by local Wisconsin artists.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum nestles in a historic mansion, too, albeit a different one. This one was built in the likeness of an Italian Renaissance villa in 1923, by architect David Adler. Its art spans a smaller period, from the 15th century through to the 18th. Visitors can browse wrought-iron work by Cyril Colnik, and explore a formal, outdoor Renaissance garden.