On Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the Milwaukee Public Museum held a ceremonial groundbreaking for MPM’s new museum. Due to inclement weather, the event was held indoors, in the ballroom of the luxurious Trade hotel, in the city’s Haymarket neighborhood, near the actual future site of the as-yet-unnamed “Future Museum.”

Top MPM brass delivered remarks. Government officials put in appearances. Private donors posed with golden shovels while students from the Indian Community School sang and performers from the Hmong American Peace Academy danced. Hardened members of the media—this hardened member of the media included—dutifully showed up and chatted about building codes and Air Supply shows and anime before the event began. It was all over and done with in about an hour.

Whether you like it or not, inclement weather or no inclement weather, snake button or no snake button (the Future Museum will have a snake button), they’re building this thing. Construction is expected to begin this June.

“Our Future Museum is for everyone,” said Dr. Ellen Censky, President and CEO of Milwaukee Public Museum. “It’s made possible by all of you, and by so many other people in this community and throughout the state, and actually from across the globe, who have participated in surveys, in focus groups, in interviews, and in workshops to make sure that our Future Museum represents and reflects the most up-to-date science and the stories of our peoples.”

What, did you think you could somehow save the current museum and stop the building of a new museum, if you were so inclined? Did you think this thing wasn’t going to happen? Like new baseball stadiums and new freeways and new luxury hotels, this thing was always going to happen. Go ahead and argue in the comments. Go ahead and use the hashtag #savethemuseum. Want to share those miserable and exhausting anti-MPM articles from that miserable and exhausting local comedy blog? Here they are. Want to take out your dentures and accuse the new museum of being “woke”? Go ahead, graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. They’re building this thing.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to build!” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley while discussing the county’s $45 million contribution to the project. “Let’s build a museum, y’all!”

Twice during Crowley’s remarks, the golden shovels set to the side of the stage toppled over, clanging to the floor.

“They’re ready!” exclaimed Crowley.

Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Administration Kathy Blumenfeld discussed the state’s contribution to the project.

“Knowing the stakes and the importance of preserving this community asset for future scientists, researchers, families, students, and visitors, Governor Evers was proud to work with our Legislature to include $40 million of funding for the Future Museum in our last biannual budget,” she said.

Milwaukee Public Museum Board Chair and Executive Vice President and Chief Distribution Officer of Northwestern Mutual John Roberts thanked the many private donors to the project.

“We’re now going to turn our attention to the more than 300 donors who, with their generosity, added to the state’s and county’s commitment to bring us to $165 million of project funding so far,” Roberts said. “We are more than 70 percent of the way towards our overall goal. We’ll still be fundraising through 2027, so there’s plenty of time for you and your friends and families to help us leave a legacy for the next generation.”

Indeed, the new museum and all its already-announced exhibits are expected to open in early 2027. Until that time, barring a short transition period, the current museum will remain open. Do you love the current museum? Do you love the current museum’s horizon-stretching dioramas and its winding Streets of Old Milwaukee and its dark and labyrinth-like hallways to nowhere? You have a few years left.

The new museum, like life and death themselves, is inevitable. But deep down you already knew that, and you’ve always known that. Every building you’ve ever stepped foot into and fallen in love with will crumble. Every person you’ve ever shared your life with and fallen in love with will die. You, too, will die. To quote the great philosopher Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., we all reach the age “where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” We all get there sooner or later. It sucks, but it’s inevitable.

But we’re not at the end quite yet. Early during Tuesday’s event, Native American Cultural Speaker and Educator Mark Denning gave a lovely and heartfelt blessing. We’ll let his words conclude this article:

“Please remember we are at a precipice in this world. There are two paths before us: one path leads to destruction, and the other path to our natural world. This building, the sciences that it represents, will represent that natural path. It is with my good heart and everything that I say that healing is there for anyone and everyone who needs it in our natural world. And for those of you in celebration, enjoy how awesome it is to get up in the morning and hear our birds singing. Let’s continue in that manner.”

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