The Milwaukee County Historical Society (MCHS) launched its first major exhibition of 2017 with “Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music” on January 9.

Melodies and Memories is a comprehensive exhibit that explores the styles, people, organizations, businesses, and places that were, and continue to be, central to Milwaukee music. The exhibit’s time frame ranges from Native American music through to the modern day, and is designed to appeal to people of all ages.

“Music has been called the soundtrack of life and is integral to the culture of Milwaukee County,” said Ben Barbera, curator at MCHS. “This exhibit will go beyond genre and performer to explore music’s role in Milwaukee’s economic, technological, entertainment, and social spheres.”

The exhibit uses artifacts, photographs, documents, with audio and visual media to show the impact of music on our County’s history.

“We are excited to continue offering the community exhibits that share Milwaukee’s history, but in a way that people can also relate to,” said Mame McCully, executive director of MCHS. “Music is part of every person’s life in one way or another. This exhibit offers many opportunities for the public to connect with a musical part of Milwaukee’s history.”

From player pods that allow visitors to try out electric instruments, to listening stations, to an instrument petting zoo, “Melodies and Memories” is an interactive and hands-on exhibit that is complemented with artifacts and stunning historic images.

A series of events are scheduled throughout the exhibition’s run from January 9 to April 30. The public is invited to experience the various programs, from happy hours, to a family day, to performances by music historians and musicians of today.


Florentine Opera in Milwaukee: A History Still Being Written

The Milwaukee County Historical Society will partner with the Florentine Opera Company for an evening of song. Audiences will be transported through time with a performance by the Florentine Opera Studio Artists, featuring vocal selections from the opera’s musically and dramatically rich 83 years in Milwaukee.

  • January 19
    6:00 p.m. — Cocktail hour and exhibition viewing
    7:00 p.m. — Recital
    8:15 p.m. — Meet the Artists Reception

Music Happy Hour at the Milwaukee County Historical Society

The free event offers a fun time to view the music exhibit, mingle with people, and spend time at the beautiful Historical Society building, all while enjoying a beverage from the bar.

  • February 16
    5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with February Partner, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee
  • March 30
    5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with March Partner, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
  • April 27
    5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with April Partner, UPAF

Music History Family Day at the Milwaukee County Historical Society

On Saturday, February 4, the Milwaukee County Historical Society will welcome families and people of all ages to an exciting day of hands-on fun with its 2017 feature exhibition, “Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music.” The public can learn about instruments through the Brass Bell Instrument Petting Zoo, participate in an art project to make a personal instrument, attend four different performances throughout the day by members of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and enjoy Cascio Interstate Music’s instrument player pods with more than 65 tunes at the listening stations.

© Photo

Lee Matz

Read the article and view the photo essay that were produced as companion features for this news report.