By Press Release Submitted to Published Oct 06, 2016 at 8:06 PM

The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) will unveil some of Wisconsin’s best kept secrets in its new temporary exhibition, "Hidden Wisconsin: Unseen. Unknown. Uncovered." on Thursday, Oct. 6.

The exhibit spans MPM’s collections in both natural and cultural history, and is made up of nearly 50 objects and artifacts that are rarely on display to the public.

"Since inception, the museum has always been a research institution. Our Collections and Research team has been preserving and studying Wisconsin’s history since 1882," said Dr. Ellen Censky, Senior Vice President and Academic Dean, MPM. "Many of the items in the collection are for scientific research and not normally used in display while others are simply too fragile to be on display long-term. We’re extremely excited that 'Hidden Wisconsin' will allow us to take some additional objects out of the lab and share those stories with visitors."

Visitors can uncover these mysteries when they step inside the keyhole and into an immersive and interactive design comprised of four themes: Hidden Beneath, Hidden in History, Hidden in Plain Sight and Hidden Forever. The young and young at heart can sneak behind the walls of a 1920s speak-easy, spy on friends and family with one way mirrors, and even have the chance to decipher clues to win great prizes from MPM.

"Wisconsin is a magical place," Julian Jackson, vice president of design, MPM. "It’s so much more than just the stereotypical beers, brats and cheeseheads once you scratch the surface. Wisconsin’s story changes with the seasons, it changes with time and we built the exhibit to showcase that. At first, it appears to be one thing, but you dig a little deeper and you find a treasure you never knew you were looking for."

Exhibit highlights

  • Track prehistoric footprints that record what may be the moment the very first creatures ever ventured onto land!
  • Sneak through a nondescript alleyway door to explore the illicit speakeasies of 1920s Milwaukee.
  • Delve into a devastating shipwreck that changed the course of Wisconsin history.
  • Explore the people and customs of the ancient Wisconsin city Aztalan.
  • Investigate the teeth of mighty mammoths and mastodons that once roamed the North American plains.
  • Discover tentacled creatures that swam through the primeval shallow seas that once covered Wisconsin.
  • Recall now-extinct birds that used to blacken the skies of our state with their huge numbers.
  • Uncover the source of the strange insect music that surround you all summer!
  • Or reveal YOUR Hidden Wisconsin by submitting photos of your Wisconsin secret places, unusual facts and hidden secrets via social media or email with the hashtag #MyHiddenWi. Select photos will be featured in the exhibit!

Exhibit themes

  • Hidden Beneath: Much of what makes Wisconsin what it is today lies beneath the surface, both underground and underwater. Learn about some of the objects and stories that lie beneath our soil and shores.
  • Hidden in History: From ancient fossils to native peoples and immigrants, Wisconsin is made up of stories. Discover what’s true and debunk what’s not in popular lore ranging from the Prehistoric era to Prohibition to Jones Island and beyond.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Every day, we look around, but we don’t always see what’s in front of us. Learn to spot what’s hidden right before your eyes.
  • Hidden Forever: Some of Wisconsin’s past will always be shrouded in mystery. Discover some things that may never be more fully understood.
"Hidden Wisconsin: Unseen. Unknown. Uncovered." will be on exhibit from Oct. 6 until Jan. 8, 2017. Admission is free for MPM members or $23 for adults, $16 for youth (5-12) and $18 for seniors (65+), and includes general admission to the museum. Children under 4 are free. "Hidden Wisconsin" will be the first museum made exhibit to be presented in both the English and Spanish languages. For more information, go to