Find out what happens after the lights go out at this grown-up sleepover.

Booze, curator-led tours of rare behind-the-scenes collections and even a Mimosa-fueled breakfast are all part of what may well be the most interactive exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum: adult sleepovers.

“It’s kind of a new trend,” says museum educator Margaret James about the events, undoubtedly inspired by the Night at the Museum trilogy of movies, starring Ben Stiller. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City also hosts after-hours events, but according to James, “We were the first in the region.”

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Museum

The museum will host two overnight events this year, on May 19 and Sept. 29, with tickets priced at $125 ($100 for members). Both are Friday nights and cap off at a cozy group of around 175.

Shortly after guests put down their sleeping bags, cots or small inflatable mattresses, they’re handed two drink tickets and can socialize over wine, craft beer and cocktails. The bar remains open until midnight, paired with food stations throughout the night. Planetarium and Dome Theater’s 3D shows run until lights out at 2 a.m.

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Museum

“A lot of [the inspiration] came from our visitors and guests for the regular overnights with families,” says James. Adults wanted a more unscripted experience, without kids in tow.

Sleeping accommodations are on the second floor, including near the Native American exhibit (“A Tribute to Survival”), with the sound effects turned off for a more peaceful slumber. “We want people to think of it as an indoor camping experience – but don’t bring a tent,” she says. ◆

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‘Night at the Museum’ appears in the May 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 1, or buy a copy at

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