Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Milwaukee Public Museum, “Streets of Old Milwaukee”.

Sunday morning, December 20th, we went to the Public Museum to check out the renovated “Streets of Old Milwaukee” exhibit.

The basic layout of the exhibit has not changed much, the major change being the streetcar “time machine” entry, which is quite cool. As you move through the car, each set of windows shows a different time period street scene scrolling by, with some of the same buildings in so that you can see changes over time. The vignettes are animated so people walk on the streets, smoke comes from chimneys, etc.

Although the street is still set at night, it seemed to me that the illumination level was slightly brighter than in the past, which made details easier to see. The soundscape has been augmented in a number of ways. The phonograph in “Granny’s” house wafts music onto the street. There are transient sound effects such as thunder, and the sound of horses’ hooves on the street. Some sounds, such as a conversations in the printers’ shop or the barber’s shop, are triggered when you stand in certain places.

A unique addition is the smell of bread which is quite noticeable in the vicinity of the bakery.

The restored police call box is the major addition to the exhibits, and the movie house is now open and running continuously (Melies’ Voyage dans la Lune was playing when we were there). The General Store has been opened up so that you can step in and look around, which gives you a much better look at the thousands of items on the shelves. Other than that, memory fails as to what else might be new or different from the last time we were there, there are so many details and things to see.

I remember coming to Milwaukee to see the museum when I was a boy, when the exhibit was still relatively new, and thinking it was just the neatest thing. I still think so. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: museum
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