Here's what you'll find at Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend


Did you know that the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) is just a 40 minute drive from Milwaukee? Located in downtown West Bend, it's a modern, spacious building that showcases the art and culture of Wisconsin. The 32,000-square-foot facility is right on the banks of the Milwaukee River, and the huge windows allow natural light to pour into its space. I'm proud to be partnering with MOWA to spread the word about their high-quality programming for kids.

Here's a run-down of what you'll find when you visit.

#1. Programs for kids

MOWA is very kid-friendly, especially on the weekends when they host their Studio Saturday program. It takes place every single Saturday in a bright studio right near the entrance. There is a different theme each month and a different project every week, so there's always something new to do.

We attended "Fairytale Studio Saturday," so the kids could dress up in costume and enjoy a new twist on the classic Hansel and Gretel story. We also got to make gingerbread museums in the same triangle shape as MOWA itself.

Coming up in December is Cookie Decorating with Santa (December 9th), plus a special project every day of Winter Break. Winter Break activities will include make-your-own snow globes, a different musician every day, and a complimentary hot cocoa bar with all the fixins'. The week ends with a special New Years Countdown where kids can dress up and celebrate in the atrium.

#2. Colorful art in a modern building

The wedge-shaped building is as impressive as the art it houses. Enjoy the view of the Milwaukee River, and head to the farthest corner of the triangle-shaped building. You'll be greeted by a whimsical bear and amazing glass sculptures suspended from the ceiling.

#3. Permanent collections that capture kids' imaginations.

In the permanent collection area, one of the showstoppers is this giant painting by Carl Von Marr, a 19th Century German-American painter born in Milwaukee. We just stood in awe of it for awhile.

There is a great mix of artistic styles and mediums to keep your children's imaginations soaring throughout the visit. My kids hopped excitedly from one to another, insisting that I take pictures of their favorites. So, here they are. :)

#4. Exciting exhibitions like the MOWA Member Show

MOWA always has something new and exciting going on, and when we visited it was no different. We got to enjoy the MOWA Member Show and an incredible temporary sculpture exhibit by Wisconsin artist Gerit Grimm.

The MOWA Member Show runs through January 7th, 2018, and it's an amazing celebration of the unique talents of actual members of MOWA. Each year, the museum accepts up to 250 art submissions, adults and children alike, and then showcases them in the gallery.

My kids and I were absolutely entranced by the varied hues, interesting textures, and inspiring creativity of the Wisconsin artists featured in the exhibit.

After we perused the MOWA Member Show, we visited the Gerit Grimm sculpture exhibit that runs through January 14th, 2017. It is fascinating for all ages. Its life-size and miniature ceramic sculptures depict fairy tales, myths, and biblical stories we can all relate to. Take, for example, this one of a tired mom carrying a baby with a toddler pulling at her. (I feel you, sister!)

Even though you're not allowed to touch these sculptures, museum staff made sure they had a smaller sample that the kids could actually play with and hold. I really appreciated this nod to children's natural sensory curiosity.

Plus, I was able to capture the meaningful, poignant moment when my three year old exclaimed, "Eew! A butt!"

#5. Good deals on membership

Here's the deal. Just by visiting and paying admission one time, you're a member. You get admission for a year at MOWA! (I don't know any other museum that does that in the area.)

If you upgrade to the Three+ membership, you can bring up to four adults and an unlimited amount of children to the museum all year long. You get to do all of the kids' programs, Studio Saturdays, and Winter Break activities for free. It costs $50. That's it.

In a world of not-so-good deals, it's a legitimately good deal.

Helpful Hint: Pack snacks

Many of the kids' events do include a treat (remember that hot cocoa bar I mentioned above!?), and there are a few snacks for sale in the MOWA Shop. But if your kids need more than that, pack some snacks before you go. You can sit and eat in the studio (not in the galleries). There are also some local shops and restaurants within walking distance in downtown West Bend.

Do you have any questions about the Museum of Wisconsin Art? Have you ever been there? Leave a comment below!


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