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Museums, Music & Theater Sites
Cultural Sites and Historic Places to See
Wisconsin is immersed in art, culture, and history. Experience the amazing galleries, performing arts centers, and cultural events that take place in the Badger State all year-round.
Visit the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau where you can get in touch with art and nature. Check out the special exhibitions, dynamic education programs, collections rooted in bird imagery, and sculpture-filled gardens that engage and interest visitors of all ages. This premier art museum is home to an extensive permanent collection of historic and contemporary paintings, graphics, and sculptures primarily focusing on birds. Take a stroll through the gardens and take in the beautiful sculptures that transform with each season. This unique museum is housed in an English Cotswold-style residence, which has undergone a series of expansions and offers a stimulating roster of educational programs makes it fun for young and old alike.
Take drive to Manitowoc and visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. This Smithsonian Affiliated museum features the most fully restored World War II submarine in the U.S. Travel back in time to the 19th century where you can operate a real steam engine and the kids can sail a boat in the Children’s Waterways room. Go prepared to spend the day, then relax at the outdoor deck pub with stunning views while enjoying cold drink and food. All of this fun can be had at the largest maritime museum on the Great Lakes.
Head north of Manitowoc to Eagle River and you will find the Trees for Tomorrow Natural Resource Center. This specialty school has been offering environmental classes since 1944. This is a popular destination for students from Northern Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan to attend variety of natural resource workshops, programs, and special events at the Eagle River Golf Course. If traveling through during the summer, check out programs like the Science Earth Exploration for Kids and Wolf Ecology Workshop.
During your travels through Wisconsin, plan a visit to the Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park. This beautiful 80-acre park is located near Danbury right along the Yellow River. This site brings to life the rich heritage of the fur trade area in the Folle Avoine region of northwestern Wisconsin. You will be met by costumed interpreters that interact with the visitors in an Ojibwe village and a reconstruction of the hard winters of the North West and XY Fur Trade Companies from 1802 to 1805. Several museums are on the property to tour, including a logging museum and a one-room schoolhouse that offer views into other aspects of the history of this region.
Located in downtown Madison, the Overture Center for the Arts is a performing arts center and art gallery featuring seven venues and several art galleries. It is one of the premier arts centers in the Madison area and it has seen several notable plays and musicals, including The Lion King, The Nutcracker, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked.
Overture Hall is the flagship venue of the Center, seating up to 2,251 people. The hall is also home to the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, and Madison Ballet. The Capitol Theater can seat 1,098 people and houses the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and CTM Madison Family Theatre.
One of the most popular cultural sites in Wisconsin is the Milwaukee Arts Museum. This museum houses a permanent collection of close to 20,000 pieces from ancient times to the art of today. The exhibits have a strong focus on 19th- and 20th-century American and European works, American and European folk art, contemporary art, Haitian art, and American decorative arts.
While in Milwaukee, try to catch a show at the historic Pabst Theater. This German Renaissance Revival style theater was built in 1895 by brewer Frederick Pabst to resemble a European opera house. It is now a landmark building for downtown Milwaukee and the oldest theater in the district.
"The Pabst" is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the United States and it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991. The theater features incredible acoustics, two balconies, a proscenium stage, 1,345 seats, and a hydraulic orchestra pit.