Lunch & Lecture

Get a taste of some of the great research happening in Milwaukee during our monthly Lunch & Lecture presentations. Take an optional guided pre-lecture docent tour, explore the topic du jour with an MPM curator or special guest, and if you’re hungry for more, stay for a great lunch.

Lunch & Lecture Schedule
Optional Docent Tour – 10:30 a.m., meet near the circular desk across from the Cafe
Lecture in Gromme Lecture Hall –11:30 a.m.
Optional buffet lunch in Garden Gallery – 12:30 p.m.
Read the Lunch & Lecture buffet menu »

Lunch & Lecture Tickets
Cost: $20; $17 for members
Lecture Only: $5; FREE for members and students
Registration required - call (414) 278-2728 to register

2015-16 Lunch & Lecture Schedule 


October 13, 2015 - Exploring the Global Soundscape: Musical Instruments of MPM and Beyond
Hal Kacanek, Ph.D., Owner, Sounds We Make, LLC 
Perhaps it is true of all cultures to say that the sounds we make tell the listener a great deal about who we are. Sound alone surpasses language in its ability to communicate human feeling; if only we would listen. Dr. Kacanek will discuss and demonstrate the fundamental acoustical principals of musical instruments as well as the use of musical sound as signs and symbols in culture.
Docent Tour - Highlights: Extraordinary Musical Instruments of MPM


November 10, 2015 - Textile 911: Quick Thinking in a Crisis 
Frank Connet, Conservator, Textile Conservation, Inc.
In 2014, a pipe failed in Museum storage and leaking water wetted and stained historic WPA printed and quilted textiles.  Textile conservator Frank Connet was called in to assess the damage and devise and execute conservation treatments for the damaged textiles. Discover the complexities of textile conservation as Mr. Connet takes us on the journey he undertook to save MPM’s WPA textiles.
Docent Tour - European Village exhibit, Textiles and Folk Costumes


December 8, 2015 - Exact Imagining, the Reimaging of the Streets of Old Milwaukee
Julian Jackson, Director of Exhibits and Design and Al Muchka, Curator of History Collections and Senior Collections Manager, Milwaukee Public Museum
Balancing the beloved-ness and emotive qualities of an iconic community based exhibit for modern generations and educational opportunities is no simple task. The blending of historical narratives, cultural highlights and maintaining an objects driven focus all the while trying to improve the aesthetics and update access and enjoyment through modern technologies seemed a tall order for MPM staff. Learn how curator and artist blend ideas, objects, talent and technology to re-imagine and present a fresh, yet familiar view of our City’s heritage.
Docent Tour - Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, Stroll through Streets Reimagined


January 12, 2016 - Frac sand and related natural resources in Wisconsin 
Jay Zambito,  Geologist, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey at the UW-Extension
Since 2011 Wisconsin has seen an increase in frac sand mines, processing plants, and rail loading facilities. What is frac sand? Why is Wisconsin frac sand so important to the hydraulic fracturing industry? What is the environmental impact? Learn about the research WGNHS is doing on frac sand and how this timely, and controversial, issue will affect all of us. The mission of the survey is to provide objective scientific information about the geology and water resources of Wisconsin in order to support informed decision making by government, industry, business, and individual citzens of the state. 
Docent Tour - Third Planet exhibit, Earth's Crust


February 9, 2016 - You’re a museum botanist? Is that still... a thing?
Christopher Tyrrell, Ph.D, Botany Collection Manager, Milwaukee Public Museum
Plants and fungi comprise one fifth of Earth‘s known biodiversity and are a vital, though sometimes over-looked, part of the world’s life support system. Botanical specimens make up one of MPM’s core collections and play an important role in our knowledge of the natural world. In the digital age, where technology allows us to carry the entirety of human knowledge in our pockets, do people still sit in dusty museum offices looking at dead plants? Is a botanical collection still relevant in the 21st century? Come behind MPM’s curtain and learn about our plant collections, what the botany collections staff does, and decide for yourself if being a museum botanist is still “a thing.”
Docent Tour - Exploring Life on Earth exhibit, The Plants of MPM 


March 8, 2016 - Shining a Light on Wisconsin’s Lighthouses
Barb Wardius, Author and Photographer and Ken Wardius, Author and Photographer
Barb and Ken Wardius, authors and photographers of the book Wisconsin Lighthouses--A Photographic and Historical Guide, shed some light on Wisconsin’s historical beacons. The Wardius’ will take you on a photographic tour where you will discover the histories of these incredible structures and learn the stories of the families that tended to them.  
Docent Tour - US Lighthouse Service 12th District Headquarters, Milwaukee's Contribution to Safety on the Lakes


April 12, 2016 - Below the Surface: the Surprising Life of the Freshwater Mussel
Julia Colby, Vertebrate and Invertebrate Zoology Collections Manager, Milwaukee Public Museum
Alluring! Deceptive! Toothy! These aren’t the adjectives most people would think of when describing freshwater mussels. Yet before they settle down to a placid life of living in the mud and filter feeding, freshwater mussels have a wild childhood that involves deception, parasitism, and joy riding. Explore how these often overlooked animals are a crucial part of a healthy water system, as well as their uses for food and decoration.
Docent Tour - Living Oceans exhibit, Water Curiosities 


May 10, 2016Coal, Shale, and Ironstone: the Geology and Paleontology of Mazon Creek
Andrew Young, Visual Artist
Mazon Creek in northeastern Illinois has the most incredible fossil array of Upper Carboniferous plants and animals currently known. This site’s numerous and delicately preserved soft-bodied animals are rarely seen in the fossil record, and many species have been singularly described from the deposit. Fossils found here have significantly helped define our understanding of the story of our planet. Find out the narrative of its geologic and biological history: how it came to be and what lived there.
Docent Tour - Third Planet exhibit, Carboniferous