9 Must-See Museum Exhibitions in Milwaukee This Winter

Check out these options for indoor edification.

When the weather gets colder, we look for interesting things to do indoors. Here are four fascinating venues that make that search worthwhile.

Milwaukee Art Museum

This holiday season Paris comes to the Milwaukee Art Museum with two exhibitions: “Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France” and “Designing Paris: The Posters of Jules Chéret.”

Paris became the center of modern art beginning in the 19th century. Artists from around the world, including Delacroix, Manet, Cézanne, Cassatt, van Gogh, Chagall and Picasso, gathered in its studios, galleries, salons and museums. They moved away from traditional subjects and styles and, through experimentation, actively charted a course toward abstract art. “Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France” tells the story of modern art as it evolved through 150 works. This exhibition focuses especially on drawings, shown alongside important paintings, sculptures and prints, to highlight the crucial role that process and materials played in the experimentation and development of modern art. It’s on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum November 4 through January 28, 2018.

“Designing Paris: The Posters of Jules Chéret” opens in December with colorful, inventive posters advertising Paris’ many entertaining venues, products, department stores and more in the late 19th century and made their maker, the French artist Jules Chéret (1836–1932), famous. His work in color lithography, previously used for commercial printing, transformed printmaking into a medium that artists today still see as rich for experimentation.

This exhibition features highlights from a gift of nearly 600 Chéret posters to the museum from local collectors Susee and James Wiechmann. It will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum Dec. 15, 2017 through April 29, 2018. For information, visit mam.org.

Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is Wisconsin’s Natural History Museum, offering adventures in the world of natural science and human history.

The history of weapons is on display in the museum’s latest exhibit, “Weapons: Beyond the Blade.” See nearly 200 artifacts from the anthropology and history collections, and learn how weapons have shaped and defined history. You’ll come face-to-face with a knight in armor, uncover the unique stories of women and weapons, and even touch real 19th-century Japanese chain mail. The exhibit is filled with rarely seen objects and artifacts and will be on display only until January 1, 2018.

In February, the museum will host “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” the largest exhibition about the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States. Get a glimpse into Mayan life through artifacts and hands-on activities, such as building corbelled arches and exploring tombs. You’ll even get a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites to understand how we know what we know of this once-hidden culture.

You can also take an “MPM Exposed” adults-only tour of your favorite exhibits and learn the stories our labels don’t tell you.

Whether you visit a special exhibition, wander the museum on your own, or take a tour, you’ll enjoy a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience.

Cedarburg History Museum

A new project destined to become a fixture of historic Cedarburg called the Cedarburg History Museum is now open in the heart of the city’s thriving historic downtown district.

The venture was completed through the efforts of a unique partnership of the Cedarburg Landmarks Preservation Society Inc., local benefactors and the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Located in the old Hilgen & Schroeder Mill Store at Portland and Columbia Roads, the museum holds unique spaces for permanent installations, rotating exhibits and interactive technology. It also houses the offices of the Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce, the Cedarburg Visitor Center and Cedarburg General Store Museum.

In 2015, a vision became a reality when benefactor Mal Hepburn donated the building as a place to house the museum. From there, the Cedarburg Landmarks Preservation Society started construction to bring the building back to its original condition. With its decades of experience in exhibit curation and management, the Cedarburg Cultural Center has been charged with managing the space and is thrilled to add this gem to its portfolio.

Charles Allis/Villa Terrace Art Museums

This fall, Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums are excited to have a total of four exhibits – two concurrently at each museum.

Presented in the second-floor galleries at Villa Terrace, “Back to School” invites a list of accomplished artists to display artwork from their current portfolio alongside work they created when they were in school, presenting unexpected juxtapositions of past and present that reveal insights into both the changing perspectives and persistent threads of artists’ pursuits over time. It’s co-curated by Brent Budsberg. Opening concurrently in the first-floor galleries, “Roger Smith: Drawings & Watercolors” will highlight artwork by Roger Smith, great grandson of A.O. Smith. A special opening reception will be held Thursday, October 19.

“Back to School” and the Roger Smith show open October 12, 2017 and run through January 28, 2018.

It’s tradition for the grand prize winner from the “Forward” juried art exhibition to be invited to present a solo exhibition the next year. Painter James Pederson of Madison, winner in 2016, has taken the invitation a step further, incorporating a collaborator and guest artist into side-by-side exhibitions. For “Clandestine Possessions,” Pederson exhibits furniture-based works made in collaboration with Madison artist Mariah Tate Klemens, and in “Family Time” he curates a small exhibition of paintings by Jackson Hunt or Irvine, Calif., alongside a series of his own. The exhibitions open November 16 and run through April 15, 2018. ◆

‘It’s Museum Season’ appears in the November 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning October 30, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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