Art, history, cultural museums will expand

Wisconsin Museum of Art: expansion rendition

When something is of value, you take care of it, but this becomes more challenging during tough economic times. Here are five historic and cultural attractions in Wisconsin that aim to push ahead with plans to expand; consider a donation to these or other causes that you favor.

Museum of Wisconsin Art, 300 S. Sixth Ave., West Bend – A new, pie-shaped building under construction this year will house prehistoric to contemporary art created by the people of Wisconsin.

The $9.2 million project doubles the exhibit space of the museum’s present home. The museum opened 50 years ago with the mission of collecting the works of Milwaukee artist Carl von Marr. Now holdings include around 2,000 art items and 9,000 files on Wisconsin artists.

One part of the new facility, to open in spring 2013, will contain a chronological display of art in Wisconsin, says Tom Lidtke, executive director. That includes prehistoric petroglyphs to pottery, presented for their aesthetic beauty.

“We’ll outline major chapters of art history in Wisconsin,” Tom says, offering the introduction of studio art glass and American panoramic painting as examples. Artwork from specific geographic areas of the state will rotate through another gallery.

He welcomes donations of relevant art. The museum’s present home remains open this year. For more: www.wisconsinart.org, 262-334-9638.

Wade House, W7824 Center St., Greenbush – Under construction this year are a new Visitor Center and Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum, strategically placed to deepen the visitor’s experience with the 1850 stagecoach inn and era during which it thrived.

The $12 million project on Highway 23 will give the state historic site a higher profile and keep it open all year because of the addition of meeting rooms, interactive exhibits, a gift shop and café. The carriage museum houses almost 100 horse- and hand-drawn vehicles, hearses to firefighting equipment.

After project completion, visitors (from mid May to mid October) will board a horse-drawn wagon to travel through woods and over a river to the stagecoach inn, a sawmill and blacksmith shop.

The planned grand opening is June 6, 2013, which is the 60th anniversary of Wade House dedication as a historic site. For more: www.wisconsinhistory.org, 920-526-3271.

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, 700 N. 12th St., Wausau – The recent acquisition of 43 Owen Gromme wildlife paintings results in a need to quickly expand gallery space and climate-controlled storage.

M&I Bank commissioned the artwork in the 1960s and donated it to the museum in November. No price has been assigned to a proposed two-story, 8,400-square-foot museum addition, but the plan is to finish the project before the 2012 “Birds in Art” exhibition in September.

“Birds in Art” is the museum’s annual juried show, and it attracts international attention. Mr. Gromme, a Fond du Lac native who died in 1991, was a part of the event’s inception.

A celebration of birds, through multiple art forms – sketches to sculptures – is evident all year at the four-acre art museum. For more: www.lywam.org, 715-845-7010.

Children’s Museum of Green Bay, North Washington Street, Green Bay – Kids can practice the Lambeau Leap, take a seat at Our Town Diner, slither through a giant replica of the human digestive system and climb an 18-foot oak indoors when this museum opens in April.

The $4.5 million downtown project also finds room for a lighthouse, beach, fishing boat and pier in its 15,000 square feet, next to the new and four-block CityDeck park plaza along the Fox River downtown.

The city has been without a children’s museum since 2006. For more: www.gbchildrensmuseum.org.

George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center, 603 Peace Pipe Rd., Lac du Flambeau – Financing reportedly is an obstacle in plans to expand the museum and enhance an outdoor gathering space for powwows and other tribal events.

Madison’s Design Coalition in 2011 won a nationwide competition to design the project. The plan is to create a museum entrance that resembles the shape of a traditional Ojibwe bark basket (circular on top, square at ground level).

The Indian Bowl powwow grounds entrance would be anchored by a canopy that resembles an elongated, inverted canoe with a fabric roof. Energy efficiency and sustainability are project priorities.

Stay tuned to www.lacduflambeauchamber.com, 715-588-3333. For project sketches, see www.designcoalition.org.