A New Place to Gather and Learn

Wisconsin's most-visited museum is getting a new home in an iconic, one-of-a-kind building that will stoke curiosity, awe, and connection before guests even step inside. Through the architectural homages to natural environments and the intentional gathering places that will bring diverse groups of people together, every inch of the Future Museum is designed to show the intersections of nature and culture that shape our community and our world.

"The building's image, the choreography of its spaces, its exhibits, its materials, and its landscape all work together to enhance and inspire the visitor experience, leaving a significant, lasting impression of wonder that is Wisconsin's natural landscape and rich cultures."

- Jarett Pelletier, Principal at Ennead Architects, on the process and inspiration behind the design of the Future Museum building for Wisconsin Architect magazine. Read the article here.

With the Wisconsin Wonders campaign, we hope to rally our community behind the largest cultural project in our state's history and create a new Museum Center that brings together the best in the world of museums and brings out the best in Wisconsin. Click the buttons below to learn more about the campaign and the project's timeline, or scroll to see more details about the Future Museum.

On May 7, 2024, the Museum held a ceremonial groundbreaking celebration to mark the start of construction. Click below to learn more and view photos of the event.
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Get a closer look

Click the thumbnails below to view hi-res renderings of our future home.

Inspired by Wisconsin's diverse landscapes

Our Future Museum is heavily influenced by Mill Bluff, which was created by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. The landscape and geology of Wisconsin, the soils and sands, all of it comes back to the influence of water–and the ice of glaciers–which has defined not just the natural elements of the state, but the people and culture of this area.


Reflecting the confluence of Milwaukee's rivers

Inside the building, we honor the history of Milwaukee as a gathering place at the confluence of three rivers. The three entrances converge in the commons to symbolize the importance of the bodies of water in the history of this place.


Connecting with the world

The lightwell is a skylight connecting the ground floor commons to the sky, bringing natural light into the common space. As the sun and moon shine differently throughout the day and night, the lightwell creates a very dynamic space while preserving and protecting items in our collections that shouldn't be exposed to natural light.

A nod to Milwaukee

The color of the Future Museum's exterior is a nod to Cream City brick, which is a story of how the nature of this region influenced culture, driving home the Museum’s mission of exploring how nature and culture are interwoven.


See the stars, and butterflies too!

While there's much more information to come about the Future Museum's exhibits, it will feature the state-of-the-art Daniel M. Soref Planetarium and Dome Theater as well as a beautiful rooftop Butterfly Vivarium.


A focus on sustainability

From the building envelope to the systems within, the Future Museum is thoughtfully designed with sustainability in mind. The following are just a few of the features that lend to the sustainability of our future home.

The Future Museum will feature:

  • Rain Garden
  • Green Roof
  • Bird Friendly Glass
  • Pollinator Friendly
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Stormwater Retention
  • Stormwater Detention
  • Passive Core & Shell Design
  • Seasonal Setpoints
  • Natural Atrium Ventilation
  • Operable Windows for Staff
  • Void-formed Structure
  • Low-Carbon Materials
  • Low-Carbon Refrigerants
  • Low-Carbon Operations