By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 01, 2023 at 3:20 PM

The Milwaukee Public Museum’s Future Museum project took a tangible step forward at noon on Monday as demolition on the second of three buildings on the site at 6th and McKinley began.

As a cold rain fell outside, a worker from Rams Contracting drove a New Holland L190 skid steer loader into the building that was, until a few months ago, home to the Gustave A. Larson Company and The Milwaukee Auto Spa, and began tearing out an interior wall.


The single-story building was erected in 1966 and had a number of loading docks but no windows. It was previously occupied by the Glandt Dahlke Produce Company.

It sits on the northeast corner of 6th and McKinley where the new museum building will be located. The previous businesses moved to new locations.

The main museum building will sit on the south end of the site, along McKinley Avenue and to the north will be a public plaza and a parking structure.

You can read more about the new building and see renderings of it here.

The first building on the site to be torn down was removed last year. That building was a vacant 32,000-square-foot commercial structure on the north end, facing Vliet Street, built in 1969.


The third building to the east of the one being torn down now has already been purchased by the museum but is still occupied by the offices of the Bartolotta Restaurants. It was built in 1960 as a warehouse.

Milwaukee Public Museum Chief Planning Officer Katie Sanders said there is no timeline yet established for the vacation and demolition of that building.

Sanders said the work that began Monday with interior demolition is expected to take about a month.

“We’re really excited to see progress on the site,” Sanders said, “because it’s so tangible and really helps people see the progress on the new museum.”

Museum officials continue to release details of the main exhibit areas in the Future Museum, with reveals slated

On May 9, information on Living in a Dynamic World and the museum’s new “Mixing Zones” will be released, and two weeks later, the reveals will wrap up wth a look at the Rainforest, Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium and the Bucyrus Rooftop Terrace.

At the moment, Sanders said, museum staff is working on determining which objects from the current museum and collections will be on view in the new museum and which “favorites” will be seen in Future Museum exhibits and which will go into storage to “rest” after years on view.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.