The Milwaukee Public Museum as we know it is not long for this world. Last year, MPM announced it would being moving to a new, four-story, $100 million downtown home sometime in the next decade. Today, it released two preliminary designs (from Rinka Chung Architects and Zimmerman Architecture Studios) for that new home.

“Milwaukee doesn’t have to be done with great civic projects. I think the museum can be the next great civic project in this community, a great piece of architecture,” MPM president and chief executive officer Dennis Kois told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It has to work on the business side, has to be a great piece of architecture. We need to be a fully functioning 21st century museum.”

The new building will be less than half the size of the museum’s current 400,000-square-foot complex. The large dioramas we all know and love would likely be replaced with more current, technology-addled exhibits. The (recently renovated) Streets of Old Milwaukee would remain.

Beyond being located downtown, the location of the new museum is currently undecided. It will, however, fill an entire city block and feature an underground parking garage and a rooftop deck.

More information on the possible future of MPM can be found on this website. The site states:

The future Museum will be the fifth home of your Milwaukee Public Museum and will welcome visitors from across the globe, inspiring curiosity and an exploration of our world—just as we have done for 136 years. Our promise to you is that our new home will combine the spirit and wonder of our current home, while providing our visitors with fresh exhibits and new technology that reflect cutting-edge research and scientific understanding.

Great cities have great museums. MPM is truly Wisconsin’s Natural History Museum. There is much planning and work ahead to turn this vision into a reality in the coming years. We all have an important role to play, and we look forward to furthering our partnerships with Milwaukee County, the State of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee, and private donors to realize this great civic vision.

MPM plans to break ground in the next few years. Until then, gaze into the future and ponder the fate of the snake button(s) below.

First, Rinka Chung:

And now, Zimmerman: