Milwaukee Fire Museum engine in garage Wisconsin

15 Free Milwaukee Museums: Your Guide for 2024!

Are you ready to discover our city’s amazing museums without spending a penny?

We’ve got you covered! Here’s your ultimate guide to free museum days in Milwaukee – where fun, learning, and affordability meet!

🌟 Free Admission Days at Milwaukee Museums 🌟

  1. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum: Unleash your child’s creativity! Free on Community Access Days – the third Thursday of every month.
  2. Milwaukee Public Museum: Step into a world of wonders. Free on the first Thursday of each month for Kohl’s Thank You Thursday.
  3. Milwaukee Art Museum: Where young artists bloom. Kids 12 and under and Wisconsin K–12 teachers always receive free Museum general admission. Thanks to Museums on Us®, Bank of America cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of the month.
  4. Harley-Davidson Museum: Explore the legacy of iconic motorcycles. Typically Free on Milwaukee Day (April 14th).
  5. Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum: Elegance and artistry with a view. Free on the first Wednesday of every month.
  6. Charles Allis Art Museum: A mansion filled with artistic treasures. Free on the first Wednesday of every month.
  7. America’s Black Holocaust Museum: A poignant historical journey. Free on Community Days.
  8. Jewish Museum Milwaukee: Discover the rich Jewish culture. Look for regular community free days.

🌈 Always Free Milwaukee Museums 🌈

  1. Milwaukee Fire Museum: Explore the history of firefighting.
  2. Mitchell Gallery of Flight: Aviation history at your fingertips.
  3. Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee Inc.: A paradise for train enthusiasts.
  4. Latino Arts, Inc.: A canvas of Hispanic and Latinx brilliance.
  5. Cedarburg History Museum: Step back in time in Cedarburg.
  6. Dinosaur Discovery Museum: Where the prehistoric world comes alive.
  7. Haggerty Museum of Art: A modern art oasis in Marquette.
  8. The Warehouse Art Museum: A fusion of modern art in a historic setting.
  9. Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel: Art and elegance combined.
  10. Milwaukee Lionel Railroad Club: An interactive blend of history and railroad charm.

👀 Pro Tips:

  • Don’t forget Milwaukee Museum Days in January for even more amazing deals!
  • Call your local library to see if they carry day passes that you can check out.

🔍 Deep Dive: Explore further in our guide for special features and insider tips for each location.

1. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202

two girls creating art at Betty Brinn Children's Museum Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @bettybrinn

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is packed with innovative, hands-on learning experiences created especially for kids ages 10 and under.

Families can have fun learning together in the museum’s interactive exhibits, including Home Sweet Home, Let’s Play Railway, Science CITY and Pocket Park (for children age 4 and younger).

Stop by the Be A Maker space for new and fresh creative activities and collaborative projects.

Special programs, sensory friendly sessions, workshops and events are offered throughout the year to spark exploration among children.

Free Admission: The museum offers a free day for all on Community Access Days, which take place on the third Thursday of every month. (Advanced registration required; some restrictions apply.)

2. Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 278-2728

Milwaukee Public Museum butterfly wing exhibit Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @MKEPublicMuseum

The Milwaukee Public Museum, located in downtown Milwaukee, is known for its life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, a live butterfly garden, and the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater and Planetarium.

There are three floors of exhibits to explore.

One of the most fun things for kids to do at the museum is stroll through the Streets of Old Milwaukee and the European Village, where the old world comes to life.

There is often a special exhibition on the upper level. Check their website before you head out!

Pro Tip: To get the butterflies to land on you in the Butterfly Wing, wear red or orange!

Fun Fact: There are three hidden buttons in the museum. Can you find them all?

Free Admission: ALL visitors* (excluding groups) receive FREE access to the permanent exhibits of MPM on the first Thursday of each month during Kohl’s Thank You Thursday.

3. Milwaukee Art Museum (Free For Kids 12 & Under)

700 N. Art Museum Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 224-3200

Milwaukee Art Museum Kohls Studio Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @milwaukeeart

The world-class Milwaukee Art Museum is a must-visit for locals and tourist alike.

Make the most of your next museum visit with some tips from our post: “10 Best Things To Do With Kids At The Art Museum“.

Free Admission: The museum is always free for kids 12 and under, and for members. In the past, the Art Museum has offered free admission for all on the first Thursday of each month, however this was not being offered at the time this post was published.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Kohl’s Art Studio. Drop-in activities and hands-on art projects are available every day!

4. Harley-Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53203
(877) 436-8738

Harley-Davidson Museum motorcycle Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @hdmuseum

The Harley Davidson Museum is a quintessential Milwaukee museum, showcasing bikes and artifacts from one of the city’s most well-known companies.

Pose for a photo with the company founders, see the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle (also known as “Serial Number One”), rev up your engines in the engine room, rummage through discovery drawers filled with vintage toys and trinkets, make your own custom creation at the build-a-bike station, and more.

Free Admission: Free admission is typically offered on “Milwaukee Day” (April 14th).

5. Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

2220 N Terrace Ave.

Villa Terrace is a gorgeous decorative arts museum situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

Meander through the gardens, Tuscan columns, and grilled Italian windows as your take in the view. The charming Mercury Courtyard is home to a statue of Mercury, the mythical messenger of the gods.

Free Admission: Children 12 and under are always free. Free admission is offered for all on the first Wednesday of every month.

6. Charles Allis Art Museum

1801 N. Prospect Ave

This small, impressive art museum is located inside a historic mansion that used to belong to Charles and Sarah family. It is home to their personal collection of paintings and international artifacts.

Free Admission: Free to children ages 12 and under, and free for all on the first Wednesday of every month.

7. Community Days at America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Saturday, February 25, 2023, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, February 26, 2023, Noon-5 p.m.
Admission: FREE

Bango with mini at Bucks Family Night Fiserv Forum Milwaukee Wisconsin

What better way to commemorate Black History Month than with a visit to America’s Black Holocaust Museum? If you go February 25-26, 2023, everyone can enjoy FREE admission all day.

Originally founded by a lynching survivor and, the museum re-emerged in a new location in 2022. 

Its inspiring exhibits take visitors on a chronological journey through more than 400 years of African American history, from pre-captivity to the present.

8. Jewish Museum Milwaukee

The Jewish Museum Milwaukee showcases exhibition that explore the history of the Jewish community in Southeastern Wisconsin. Keep an eye on their calendar for regular community free days.

9. Milwaukee Fire Museum

1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215
(414) 286-5272
Facebook Page

The Milwaukee Fire Museum is only open on the first Sunday of each month (April – December, excluding holidays) from noon to 4 p.m.

Built in 1927, this small museum houses the first department ambulance – a 1947 Cadillac – plus two trucks built in the Milwaukee Fire Department Shop during the 1920’s and 30’s. The building also has a vintage kitchen, locker room, and hose tower, a fire officer’s office, and more.

And, it’s one of 15 free Milwaukee museums!

5300 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 747-4503

If you find yourself at the airport with some time to spend, stop by the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, where you’ll find aviation models and memorabilia, as well as educational information about local planes and famous Midwestern pilots and astronauts.

11. Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee Inc.

215 E. National Ave. (built into a Canadian Pacific Railway bridge that spans the street)
(414) 425-8635

Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit:

Hidden gem alert! Built in 1916 by the Milwaukee Road as a bridge station, this location was abandoned and converted into the Railroad Club’s venue in 1936.

It is the longest running model railroad club in the same location in the United States.

Many of the original features are still intact, including subway tile, tin ceiling panels, and some steam heat fixtures. The models inside are built to ¼-inch scale, with some dating back to pre-WWII.

The club is open to visitors the last Sunday afternoon of each month, between about 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. If that day falls on a holiday, or within a four-day weekend, the club is not open, and it is not open during severe weather events in winter.

Call ahead to confirm hours.

12. Latino Arts, Inc.

1028 S. 9th St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 384-3100

Latino Arts, Inc., located in the heart of Walker’s Point, is the only Wisconsin fine arts insitution dedicated exclusively to showcasing the works of Hispanic and Latinx artists.

You’ll find a gallery space with rotating exhibitions and a concert hall where there are regular community concerts.

Don’t miss their colorful and dynamic Day of the Dead Ofrenda Gallery every Fall from October to November.

13. Cedarburg History Museum

N58W6194 Columbia Rd, Cedarburg, WI 53012
(262) 377-9620

Located in the historic Hilgen & Schroeder Mill Store, the Cedarburg History Museum features permanent installments like the General Store Museum, rotating exhibits, and interactive technology. Current exhibits include the Hometown Teams and Wedding Dresses of Cedarburg.

14. Dinosaur Discovery Museum

5608 Tenth Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 653-4450

Dinosaur Discovery Museum Kenosha Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @DDMKenosha

The Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha is the only museum to focus on the link between meat-eating dinosaurs and birds.

Tour the main gallery filled with impressive dinosaur skeletons that are casts of actual fossil bones.

Head downstairs to dig for fossils, do dinosaur crafts, and peek into the on-site laboratory. Admission is free (suggested donation of $3 per person).

Check out our full review of the Dinosaur Discovery Museum here.

15. Haggerty Museum of Art

Marquette University Campus
530 N. 13th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Located on the Marquette University campus, this free museum features an impressive permanent collection, an ever-changing array of exhibitions, and a full calendar of free performances, gallery talks, workshops, and more.

Admission is always free, and free parking is nearby.

16. The Warehouse Art Museum

1635 W St Paul Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233

The Warehouse Art Museum is located inside a former factory and warehouse.

Located inside a former factory and warehouse built in 1924, The Warehouse features a permanent collection for more than 3,000 modern and contemporary works.

Rotating exhibits in the space shine a spotlight on a variety of multi-media artists, and they also offer performances and lectures throughout the year.

17. Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel

139 E Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

It’s not exactly a museum, but the impressive lobby and first floor of the Saint Kate Hotel is home to permanent art exhibitions as well as special exhibits and travelings shows. A visit to this downtown gem is full of surprises, and never a disappointment.

18. Milwaukee Lionel Railroad Club

2721 South Calhoun Road, New Berlin — situated in Parkland Plaza’s rear

The club’s main feature is its extensive display of toy trains, representing various periods and styles. 

The facility prides itself on being a hands-on experience that sparks curiosity and learning, and visitors are encouraged to engage with interactive buttons that activate over a dozen miniature scenes.

Honorable Mention: National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame & Museum ($5 Admission)

170 S. 1st St., 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53204
(800) 414-1482

For sports fans and those who love quirky destinations, this one-of-a-kind museum houses the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads from all genres and periods.

There are also dozens of exhibits related to the history of bobbleheads, the making of bobbleheads, and more.

Honorable Mention: Grohman Museum ($5 admission)

The Grohmann Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. There are over 1700 paintings and sculptures, as well as an impressive rooftop garden with a great view of the city.

Free admission: Children 12 and under are always free.

Outdoor Art

Milwaukee is home to stunning murals all over the city, including the new Giannis mural downtown.

The city of Milwaukee has a thriving outdoor arts scene, evidenced by the giant murals in Black Cat Alley, the innovative sculptures that make up Sculpture Milwaukee, the art-filled Riverwalk, and impressive murals found all over the city.

You can also take a stroll through the Historic Third Ward, where you can marvel at the stunning works of art in several galleries throughout the neighborhood.

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