Wisconsin September 22, 2017
Most People Don’t Even Know This Rooftop Sculpture Garden In Wisconsin Even Exists
If you’re a particularly observant sort, you might have noticed an interesting piece of Milwaukee’s downtown skyline. Tucked in among office buildings and a college campus is a unique and interesting museum of art.
The Grohmann Museum located on the campus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering in downtown Milwaukee is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. They have more than 1,000 pieces of art showing the evolution of human work.
The Eckhart G. Grohmann Collection "Man at Work" comprises more than 1,300 paintings and sculptures from 1580 to the present. They were donated by Dr. Eckhart Grohmann, a regent at the university and Milwaukee businessman. He also donated the funds to purchase, renovate and run the museum that now bears his name.
The museum building went up in 1924 and was a car dealership and bank in previous iterations. Now it's a sweeping homage to the spirit of work.
The entrance to the building is light and airy from its many windows and it features detailed mosaic work.
At the top of the entrance is a large painted dome surrounded by stained glass windows that replicate some of the works found inside the museum.
While the museum itself is worthy of a visit, it is just the precursor to one of the most interesting and unique rooftops in the state.
According to the Grohmann Museum website, "A dozen large, bronze sculptures – men toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs – perch on the roofline of the Grohmann Museum. These fellows, each about 9 feet tall and weighing in at a thousand pounds a piece, have a commanding view of a city that was built on the hard work they depict. "
In addition to the large, looming sculptures whose designs are based on smaller works in the museum's collection, the roof is functional. It's a green roof, with the plants and grasses keeping the building cooler in the summer and saving energy. In addition, the roof traps rainwater, reducing runoff.
The rooftop offers some of the very best views of downtown Milwaukee. It's peaceful and contemplative. There's irony in a museum dedicated to work inviting you to dally on its roof for a time. It's impossible not to consider your place in the world among the giant bronze statues.
At night, the sculptures are dramatically lit, casting their shadows to the street below and creating a truly awe-inspiring bit of the skyline as the statues appear to be looming over the city.
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday from noon to 6 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and free for children, MSOE students, faculty, staff and alumni.
The Grohmann Museum is located at 1000 N. Broadway., Milwaukee, WI 53202.
Have you ever visited this interesting and somewhat hidden Milwaukee gem? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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