In celebration of The Streets of Old Milwaukee’s 50th anniversary last year, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) renovated and reimagined Wisconsin’s most beloved exhibit to highlight important issues of the day. Historical objects and artifacts, soundscapes, films and the Streets smartphone app characters were all chosen to highlight the importance of entertainment in Milwaukee for its December 2015 reopening.
On July 1, the lights will go up, and visitors will be able to experience the Streets from a new, public health perspective.
"Life is always changing," said Julian Jackson, vice president of design, Milwaukee Public Museum. "That, of course, was true for the people of the Streets as well. It was incredibly important to us that we were able to give our visitors different viewpoints, from people and events to issues and controversies, about the goings on in Milwaukee. We’re excited to be able to offer Streets fans a new experience, on an important topic, throughout the year."
Streets themes will change twice a year, and each change will contain new films in the Nickelodeon, different soundscapes in businesses like the Barbershop and General Store, and focus on different historical objects and artifacts through the Streets app.
Simply titled "Streets of Old Milwaukee," the app can be downloaded for free on iTunes or at the Google Play Store and is one of the first apps to be used in a museum that features innovative blue-tooth-based beacon technology to transmit where the visitor is in the exhibit. This advanced technology allows the tour guide to give the visitor specific information about a storefront, historical object or event, or even another Streets resident as they are standing near a specific item or location. Visitors can listen along with the guide via earbuds or read text on their phones.
There’s still time to experience turn-of-the-century entertainment before some of our favorite Streets residents take their bow. Visitors will be able to see the films in the Nickelodeon and view the Streets through the eyes of cakewalk dancer Harris Tucker, socialite Elsa Ritter and vaudevillian Helen Murray using the Streets app through the end of June.
The Museum will unveil the new characters for the Streets app in mid-June. For more information on Streets, go to www.mpm.edu/streets.