Alliance with Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum are excited and proud to announce that we are pursuing an alliance!

This alliance will be a colocation of two museums that have held formative roles in education in Wisconsin for decades, enhancing the ability of both organizations to further our missions.

We are confident that colocating these two organizations will benefit our community by providing a rich, diversified museum experience, under one roof, that appeals to visitors of all ages. From a business and logistical perspective, colocating will enable us to realize operational synergies as well as cost savings through shared facilities and services.

This is a positive step for both the Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, and – most importantly – our community, which will benefit by having access to an enhanced visitor experience in two world-class educational institutions located conveniently in the same brand new space.

Press Release

Is this a merger? 

No. The Milwaukee Public Museum and the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum are pursuing an alliance that would enable the two museums to colocate under one roof, while maintaining their individual brands, identities, and distinction as two separate entities and experiences for their visitors.

When will this happen?

The process to colocation will take several years; this is simply one of many milestones marking the path to a future that will include a new, state-of-the art building that provides visitors of all ages with a world-class experience. That process must also include finalization of a site for the museums and construction of the building, among other steps.

In fact, many of the specific details of this alliance remain to be determined, and in the coming days and weeks, leadership from MPM and Betty Brinn will come together to determine those details. 

You say that this is a colocation alliance. Where will the museums be located? Is there a site selected?

MPM has narrowed its search and identified a potential site for its new museum, and this partnership will enable Betty Brinn to colocate in that new space. Due diligence on this site has begun to determine if it could support a new museum. Until due diligence is complete, and a contract is in place, we will not have additional information to share specific to site.

Don't these organizations compete with one another?

We believe that more education and inspiration is better. The Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum share a goal of inspiring minds – with visitors in a range of ages. Colocating the two museums will provide a rich, diversified museum experience under one roof that appeals to visitors of all ages.

This partnership is full of possibilities and potential because of the differences that both institutions bring to the table and to our community.

How will this new space be funded? Aren't the museums experiencing financial strains right now? Who will fund the building where this colocation will take place?

As with most nonprofit organizations, our museums have felt the financial impact of the pandemic we all continue to face. As part of our research in this process, we have spoken with funders, the vast majority of whom appreciate both organizations’ creativity in looking for efficiencies through this colocation.

But while we make adjustments in the short term, long-term thinking is central to what the Milwaukee Public Museum has done for nearly 140 years: planning for the future and for the future of science by collecting, preserving, and inspiring our community through education. Likewise, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum has made it its mission to plan for children’s futures by inspiring children to wonder, and setting the youngest members of our community up for long-term success in their lives.

That same spirit is at the core of planning for this alliance. We know that these are beloved and critically important institutions in our communities – institutions that have enjoyed the support of public and private generosity and commitment for decades, and that our community wants to continue to have access to for decades to come.

From a visitor-experience perspective, will one ticket get visitors into both museums?

This announcement is a step toward determining the exact terms of this alliance, and many of the details are yet to be worked out, but it is important to remember that both institutions will retain their distinct identities. This will be a colocation of two museums.