Doors Open Milwaukee 2021 Presents New Symphony Hall and Other Venues


OK, you can call it a comeback.

After being largely a virtual event with self-guided walking tours in 2020, Doors Open Milwaukee in 2021 opens the doors to architectural wonders and local cultural sites on September 25-26. Approximately 70 places will be open for a free visit during the event. .

But like most events in this second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, some precautions are needed. Doors Open will require that all visitors and volunteers wear masks at all indoor locations.

Doors Open also encourages everyone to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Some sites, like the Pabst Theater, will require a vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entry.

Like much of life in 2021, Doors Open Milwaukee will be a hybrid event with online options. From September 25 to October 3, people can explore dozens of local buildings online through a mix of photos, videos and 360-degree virtual reality images. Some sites, like the Fiserv Forum, will be virtual only.

The new home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which could have been a star destination in 2020 without the pandemic, makes its live debut with Doors Open this month. In a $ 90 million project, the MSO converted the former Warner Grand Theater at 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. in its new location, the Bradley Symphony Center, with Allen-Bradley Hall.

The new Milwaukee Symphony concert hall, Allen-Bradley Hall at the Bradley Symphony Center, will be presented at the Doors Open 2021 on September 26.

The Old Cinema Palace, which opened in 1931, was designed by Chicago architects Rapp and Rapp. While the theater lobby is considered the first art deco, the interior is “that crazy mix of fine art, rococo, baroque; that’s exactly what the famous brothers Rapp and Rapp have done with many of their theaters, ”retired architect David Uihlein, a major donor to the MSO project, said in an interview in 2020.

While renovating the cinema and an adjacent 12-story Art Deco office building, the team led by Milwaukee architectural firm Kahler Slater and CD Smith Construction Inc. of Fond du Lac also built two additions, including a pavilion. two-story glazed, which the MSO hopes to become a popular destination for parties and events.

While the MSO performed and recorded concerts for videos last season in the new venue, audience size was limited to a fraction of capacity. The Open Doors event of the symphony from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 26 will be the general public‘s first chance to admire the makeover.

Milwaukee Symphony President and CEO Mark Niehaus has been involved with the new venue project since it was a glimmer of thought in 2000. In an email he offered these suggestions to new visitors to the site:

  • Stroll through the space that was once an elevator. It now connects the historic hall to the gallery.
  • Visit the “secret door” that connects the balcony level of Allen-Bradley Hall to the new glass atrium.
  • Look closely at the windows of the atrium. The Pattern in the Glass is a list of the names of the composers that the OSM has performed throughout its history.
  • Observe the light fixtures in the hall. They are original from the building, but have been restored and rewired with LED bulbs.

The Bradley Symphony Center retains many of the ornaments of the original theater walls and ceilings, with their uneven shapes and surfaces, not only because they are pretty, but also because they reflect sound better than flat walls, Niehaus said in an interview earlier this year. .

The open house at the Bradley Symphony Center will also be stimulating for the audition. Orchestral musicians and members of the OSM’s Arts in Community Education ensembles will play music during the event.

Monuments, Wright’s objects and green spaces in sight

Other highlights of the 2021 open house:

  • New self-guided walking tours of Silver City, Near West Side between Marquette and 27th St., and Villard Avenue neighborhoods. Tours will be available through the Historic Milwaukee app, free to download from Apple and Google Play. The Silver City Tour is Historic Milwaukee’s first bilingual app tour.
  • Local landmarks including Town Hall, Milwaukee Public Library Central Library, Pabst Theater, St. Josaphat Basilica, Milwaukee’s North Point Water Works, the Oriental Theater, and the sanctuary of Tripoli.
  • Wright’s Stuff: The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Wauwatosa and the Burnham Block of American System-Built Houses, both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Green spaces, such as the Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park, the Collaborative Farm on W. Silver Spring Dr., Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Sanger House Gardens in Brewers Hill, and Lakeshore State Park.

The Milwaukee Art Museum and Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons are among the virtual-only sites this year.

Although most Doors Open events are free, there are paid tours (some of them are already sold out). Visit the Doors Open website at for more information on free seats, paid tours and requirements. The list of sites is searchable by district, opening hours, photography rules and other criteria.

Doors Open is presented by Historic Milwaukee, Inc.

Contact Jim Higgins at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @jhiggy.


Leave A Reply