Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm
Finding a permanent place for The Milwaukee County Historical Society’s Brew City MKE exhibit was just an idea in February. Less than a year later it will open as a bar and museum dedicated to Milwaukee’s brewing history in the former Applebee’s in The Shops of Grand Avenue.
The historical society will open its newest location Wednesday at 2 p.m. The space features a version of the historical society’s 2016 beer and brewing exhibit along with a Milwaukee beer bar and retail space for Milwaukee souvenirs.
Admission to the museum will be $10 and will include a complimentary beer at the bar. The exhibits include a combination of artifacts, text and images, interactive and audio-visual components and hands-on experiences.
The bar will be open to non-museum visitors and will feature beers from a variety of Milwaukee breweries. It will also hold programming like tap takeovers or meet the brewer events.
The Milwaukee County Historical Society first signed a lease for the space in May and began getting permits in June. The actual build out began in August, leading up to Wednesday’s opening.
“It was the truest example of a community project you can find,” said Mame McCully, Milwaukee County Historical Society executive director.
The original exhibit was presented by Miller Brewing Co. with additional support from Pabst Brewing Co. and Sprecher Brewery. Those companies continued their support, but McCully credited Tony Janowiec, The Shops of Grand Avenue co-owner, and Quorom Architects for their in-kind support in making the project a reality.
“We are excited to offer an innovative and interesting way for people to enjoy Milwaukee’s history and beer and brewing culture,” McCully said.
She added that people are often most interested in history when it can connect to who they are today and the growth of craft breweries has led to plenty of beer related activities.
“I don’t see this as replacing any of that,” McCully said, describing Brew City MKE as something that merges the past and present into one experience.
The historical society is planning for Brew City MKE to be a one-year pilot project with hopes of expanding it over time. After Wednesday’s ceremony it will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
“We are delighted to have Brew City MKE and know it will be a valued part of the redevelopment of Wisconsin Avenue and The Shops of Grand Avenue,” Janowiec said “We believe it will bring positive traffic and attention to this area of town and fits perfectly into the redevelopment plans for the The Shops of Grand Avenue and West Wisconsin Avenue.”