The Milwaukee Public Museum had raised $12.2 million in its private fundraising efforts for its new downtown museum, as of last month. The museum, which aims to raise $150 million in private donor commitments to support the $240 million project, released details of its fundraising in a recent report to the Milwaukee County Board. MPM has not yet gone public with its private-donor campaign, and architectural and exhibit renderings have not yet been made available. It is slated to receive $40 million from the state for the project. That funding is dependent on it securing at least $85 million from non-state revenue sources. MPM has requested an aggregate of $45 million from the county, which would match the state funds and catalyze its capital campaign. The new museum is planned as a 230,000-square-foot development on a 2.4-acre site at the northeast corner of North Sixth Street and McKinley Avenue. The costs for the development and construction of the new facility are projected at $170 million, but that total swells to $240 million when including the cost of purchasing the site, transitioning to the new building and moving collections, building out a 33,000-square-foot space for Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and growing MPM’s endowment. In addition to the $12.2 million it has raised during the quiet phase of the campaign, it has raised $2.5 million in planning funds, which doesn’t contribute to the campaign total. As of October, another $27 million in solicitations were pending. A $150 million private campaign would make the new museum the “largest cultural project in the state’s history,” according to the report, which was submitted by Aaron Hertzber, director of the Department of Administrative Services and Ellen Censky, president and CEO of MPM. A fundraising feasibility study concluded the private campaign “could succeed if the project is a public-private partnership and donors were assured public funding would be committed to the project,” MPM representatives said in their report to the county board. The study also found its planned co-location with Betty Brinn strengthens the campaign’s case, and MPM – which has a statewide reach – is in a position to expand the geography of the campaign beyond southeastern Wisconsin, the report said. The feasibility study also identified some challenges the museum faces, including “the readiness of major gift donors and that top-tier donors have not considered MPM a top philanthropic priority given its history as a government department.” MPM also detailed changes to its organizational structure in its report to the county board. It currently is a nonprofit entity that leases the county building at 800 W. Wells St. and manages its assets. With its relocation, that structure is expected to change. The acquisition of the land for the new museum was done by Historic Haymarket Milwaukee LLC, a limited liability company controlled up until now by the Milwaukee Development Corp. and serves as the developer of the property, as well as the financing and fundraising arm for the project. Historic Haymarket Milwaukee Inc. has received 501(c)3 status and is in the process of merging with HHM LLC, which will then spin off from MDC and operate independently. A separate 501(c)3, the Wisconsin Museum of Nature and Culture has been incorporated to operate the museum once the new facility is open. That entity reflects how MPM plans to rebrand itself when it opens a new building, though the actual title of the new museum has not been decided yet. “MPM is positioning to rebrand the Milwaukee Public Museum as the Wisconsin Museum of Nature and Culture or a similar title. WMNC has been incorporated, but the actual title of the future museum is still undecided,” according to the report. “The museum has been Wisconsin’s natural history museum throughout its history, as it was chartered by the state in 1882, cares for collections from every county, welcomes visitors from every county, and explores the natural and cultural histories of the entire state of Wisconsin. The museum’s intentions are to pursue a broader title, and one that more clearly articulates the type of museum we are,” the report added. Architectural and exhibit renderings are expected to be released in spring 2022, the report said. Current timelines show construction beginning in 2023 for final completion in 2026. The condition of its current 400,000-square-foot facility is deteriorating due to deferred maintenance, which has put the museum’s collections in jeopardy, along with its accreditation status. Earlier this year, the museum’s application for re-accreditation was tabled by its national museum association as it works toward building a new facility.