The Public Museum Picked a Design Team for Their New Building

They announced both a design and architecture team.

The Milwaukee Public Museum announced Thursday that their new building will be designed and built with Thinc Design, Ennead Architects, Kahler Slater, Mortenson and ALLCON. 

The new location, a block north of Fiserv Forum, at the northeast corner of 6th Street and West McKinley Avenue, will also house the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

Thinc Design will develop the new exhibit designs, while Ennead Architects and Kahler Slater handle the architecture of the building itself. Mortenson will be overseeing construction, partnered ALLCON, a contracting firm. The design and architecture teams will be working together to marry exhibit design with building design.

Thinc Design is a New York-based firm that has worked on the Seattle Aquarium, the National September 11th Memorial Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, among others. Ennead Architects is also New York-based and won the Smithsonian Institution-Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2003 and several other awards. 

Kahler Slater has a Milwaukee office and is behind several major Wisconsin projects, like the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava addition, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Bradley Symphony Center, UW-Madison’s Kohl Center and the Wisconsin State Capitol renovation.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that the Museum is requesting $65 million of state funding to pay for the project, which the JS reports will cost $215 million total. Gov. Evers will be releasing a budget proposal for 2021-23 in February, which may include the Museum’s request, and which will require approval from the legislature.

“As designing and building a new museum will have national and global significance and will be a point of pride for Wisconsinites for generations to come, we searched for the best talent both locally and globally,” said Dr. Ellen Censky, the president & CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, who we also happened to write a feature about in December, in a press release. “We are thrilled with the group we’ve assembled and feel they will capture the interconnection of nature and culture through time and space using design as part of this exciting process.”



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.