Exploring the Charles Allis Art Museum

Hello there, art enthusiast! Have you ever visited the Charles Allis Art Museum? If not, you are missing out on a hidden gem in the heart of Milwaukee. Housed in an elegant Tudor-style mansion, the Charles Allis Art Museum is a must-see for anyone who appreciates art and history. The museum boasts a diverse collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 19th and 20th centuries. It also features a beautiful Victorian-era garden and hosts various events and exhibitions throughout the year. Join me as we explore the Charles Allis Art Museum and discover its fascinating stories and unique charm.

The History of Charles Allis Art Museum

The Charles Allis Art Museum is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has a rich history. The museum was once the home of Charles Allis and his wife Sarah. The mansion was built in 1911 and was converted into a museum in 1979.

Former Mansion Turned Museum

The mansion that houses the Charles Allis Art Museum was originally designed as a Tudor-style mansion for the wealthy industrialist, Charles Allis and his wife, Sarah. The mansion was designed by prominent Milwaukee architect, Alexander Eschweiler, who was known for his work on many well-known mansions, churches, and buildings in Milwaukee.

After the death of Charles Allis, the mansion was owned by different people and in 1979, the mansion was donated to the Milwaukee County Historical Society with the intention of turning it into a museum. The conversion process was carried out by the architectural firm, Uihlein/Wilson Architects, who preserved much of the original architecture of the building while converting it into a museum.

A Rich Collection

The Charles Allis Art Museum houses a collection of over 1,000 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The works span from the 19th century to contemporary art and include artists such as Winslow Homer, Marc Chagall, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The museum has an extensive collection of European and American decorative arts, including fine porcelain and silverware. The museum also has a large collection of Asian ceramics, textiles, and sculpture.

The Charles Allis Art Museum is known for its extensive collection of antique and modern furniture, including pieces from the Arts & Crafts movement and the Wiener Werkstaette, a famous Viennese design firm.

Landmark Designation

In 1976, the mansion that houses the Charles Allis Art Museum was designated as a landmark by the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission. The mansion’s architectural design, which features a mix of Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts styles, is considered an important example of the architectural design of the early 20th century.

The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission recognized the mansion’s importance to Milwaukee’s architectural heritage and its contributions to the community’s cultural and artistic life.

The Charles Allis Art Museum is a testament to the rich history and culture of Milwaukee. The mansion’s original design, combined with the extensive collection of fine art and decorative arts, makes it a unique and important destination for art and history lovers alike.

The Exhibitions in Charles Allis Art Museum

The Charles Allis Art Museum has always been a place for visitors to experience art in a meaningful and immersive way. Exhibitions are a core component of the museum’s offerings and are carefully curated to engage visitors in explorations of art and culture. The museum hosts a variety of exhibitions that are sure to stimulate the interests of any art lover, from rotating exhibitions to virtual exhibitions and special exhibitions.

Rotating Exhibitions

The museum’s rotating exhibitions showcase both the permanent collection and contemporary artists. These exhibitions are constantly changing, ensuring there is always something new and unique to discover at the museum. The curatorial team behind these exhibitions carefully selects works based on their artistic quality, cultural value, and relevance to contemporary issues. Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of exhibitions, each with its own theme and focus. For example, one recent exhibition explored the relationship between art and the natural world, while another featured works by female artists. These exhibitions offer an opportunity to engage with art in meaningful and thought-provoking ways.

Virtual Exhibitions

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charles Allis Art Museum has launched a series of virtual exhibitions. These exhibitions allow visitors to experience the art from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The virtual format features high-quality digital images of the artworks, accompanied by contextual information to enrich the experience. The virtual exhibitions also include immersive curatorial tours, guided by the museum’s expert staff. In this way, visitors can still engage with the museum’s collections and exhibitions, even when physical visits are not possible.

Special Exhibitions

In addition to the rotating and virtual exhibitions, the museum also hosts special exhibitions. These exhibitions are often high-profile and attract visitors from all over the world. One example of such an exhibition is the annual “Forward” exhibition, which features works by Wisconsin artists. The exhibition has become a fixture of the museum’s programming and is eagerly anticipated by visitors and local artists alike. The special exhibitions often have accompanying programming, such as artist talks, workshops, and panel discussions. These events offer visitors a chance to engage with the works on display in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Overall, the exhibitions at the Charles Allis Art Museum are a testament to the museum’s commitment to creating meaningful and engaging experiences for visitors. Whether in person or online, visitors are sure to find something to inspire and stimulate their curiosity.

Events and Programs at Charles Allis Art Museum

Concert Series

If you are a music lover, then the Charles Allis Art Museum is the place to be. The museum hosts an annual concert series that features a diverse range of musical genres. Whether you are a jazz enthusiast, a classical aficionado, or a folk music lover, you are sure to find something to enjoy. The concerts are held in the mansion’s Great Hall, creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere that enhances the audience’s musical experience. To make the experience even more enjoyable, the concerts are often accompanied by wine and cheese. So if you are looking for a relaxing and enjoyable evening, head to the Charles Allis Art Museum for some great music and tasty treats!

Art History Talks

If you are intrigued by art and its history, then the Charles Allis Art Museum has a treat for you. The museum hosts a series of talks that delve deep into the history and context of various art movements and artists. These talks are led by experts in the field who provide a deeper understanding of the art displayed in the museum. These enlightening talks are a great way to learn about the different art movements and how they influenced each other. In addition, these talks provide a deeper appreciation of the art on display. The museum encourages questions and discussion, making the talks more interactive and engaging.

Workshops and Classes

The Charles Allis Art Museum offers a range of workshops and classes that allow visitors to get hands-on experience with different art forms. These workshops and classes are a great opportunity to learn a new skill or improve existing skills. The museum offers classes and workshops in various art forms, including painting, drawing, printmaking, bookbinding, and many more. The classes and workshops are led by experienced artists who provide you with the guidance you need to create your masterpieces. These workshops provide you with a unique space to explore your creativity and experiment with different art forms. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, you are sure to find a workshop that piques your interest.

The workshops and classes offered at the museum are enjoyable and engaging. The teachers help you improve your skills and provide you with a supportive environment to create. Moreover, these classes and workshops provide access to a wide range of art materials which you might not have access to otherwise. The classes are conducted in a small group so you can receive more personalized attention and guidance from the teachers.

The Charles Allis Art Museum is a great place to visit if you are passionate about art, music, or both. The museum’s events and programs provide an enriching and fulfilling experience for all ages. So, head over to the museum and take a dive into the world of art and music!

The Charles Allis Art Museum Shop

The museum shop at the Charles Allis Art Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in finding unique and art-related items. Whether visitors are looking for books, prints, or handmade jewelry, the museum shop has it all. The shop is one of the museum’s most popular attractions and is located near the entrance, making it an ideal first stop for visitors.

Curated Selection

The museum shop offers a curated selection of art-related items, including prints, books, jewelry, and other unique items. Many of the items are created by local artists and artisans, making them truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Visitors can find a variety of items that are both beautiful and meaningful. The selection is constantly changing, so there’s always something new and exciting to discover.


The museum shop offers a range of items at various price points, making it accessible to visitors with a range of budgets. Prices start at just a few dollars, making it possible for anyone to find a great souvenir or unique gift. Visitors can find items that are affordable and still of high quality, making the museum shop a great destination for value-conscious shoppers.

Online Shopping

For those who cannot make it to the museum in person, the shop also offers online shopping. Visitors can browse the selection of items on the museum’s online store and have items shipped directly to their home. Shop online and discover a treasure trove of art-related items from the comfort of your own home.

In conclusion, the Charles Allis Art Museum Shop is an excellent destination for art lovers of all stripes. With a curated selection of items, affordability, and the option of online shopping, this museum shop is the perfect place to find a unique and meaningful keepsake or gift. So whether you’re visiting in-person or browsing the online store, be sure to check out the museum shop and see what treasures you can find!

Visiting Charles Allis Art Museum

Hours and Admission

If you’re looking for a relaxing and educational afternoon in Milwaukee, then you should visit the Charles Allis Art Museum. This impressive mansion was once home to Milwaukee’s first mayor, Charles Allis, and his wife, Sarah. Today, it houses a stunning art collection that can be viewed by the public.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-5pm, giving visitors plenty of opportunities to explore the collection and learn about the history of the mansion. Admission to the museum is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children under 12 can enter for free, making it a budget-friendly outing for families.


The Charles Allis Art Museum believes that everyone should be able to explore and enjoy the mansion and art collection. Therefore, the mansion is accessible to visitors with disabilities. There is an elevator and ramps throughout the building, making it easy for wheelchair users to access all areas. Assistive listening devices are also available for use in the Great Hall, ensuring that everyone can hear and enjoy any presentations or discussions that may be taking place.


If you want to learn more about the Charles Allis Art Museum and its history, then you should consider taking a guided tour. The museum offers both guided and self-guided tours of the mansion and art collection. Guided tours must be booked in advance, ensuring that visitors get the most out of their tour experience.

Guided tours are led by knowledgeable and passionate docents who will share details about the history of the mansion and its artwork. They will answer any questions and provide insight into the significance of each piece. The museum also offers self-guided audio tours, which allow visitors to explore the collection at their own pace. These tours are an excellent option for those who prefer a more independent experience.

No matter how visitors choose to explore the Charles Allis Art Museum, they are sure to be impressed by the quality and diversity of the art collection. From the stunning mansion to the beautiful artwork, this is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in art, history, and architecture.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking for an interesting way to spend an afternoon, make sure to add the Charles Allis Art Museum to your itinerary. With accessible facilities and a variety of tour options, it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in Milwaukee’s rich history and art scene!

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