Eisner Museum to close doors in Third Ward

The Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design plans to close its doors at 208 N. Water St. in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward and will shift into becoming an online museum.
“It’s not closing,” said executive director Cori Coffman. “It’s just changing models. We are re-vamping, going into a new phase.”
The museum occupies 27,000 square feet of space in a five-story building that is owned by the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). The rest of the building is used as a residence hall for MIAD students.
MIAD has outgrown its space in the building, and a new MIAD residence hall will be built nearby. MIAD plans to sell the building currently occupied by the Eisner Museum, Coffman said.
The museum, a nonprofit operation, will not be able to continue operating in such a large space at a prime location in the Third Ward after the building is sold, she said.
The Eisner’s board is not sure when the building will be sold or when it will close its physical space, Coffman said.
The shift to an online museum will be fairly easy for the museum because so much of its material is already digital, she said. The museum will be able to keep its exhibits, which are currently displayed for about six to eight months, on display permanently online, she said.
The Eisner has about 18,000 to 20,000 visitors a year, Coffman said. Most of the visitors are from the Milwaukee area. An online museum will be able to attract more visitors from outside of the area.
“By putting it online, we can have far more people visit the museum from all over the world,” Coffman said. “It actually allows us to become more national.”

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