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7 Ways to Celebrate the Calatrava–Designed Quadracci Pavilion

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion is one of Milwaukee’s favorite emblems and the city’s largest work of art. Celebrate its 20th anniversary with these activities!

When the Quadracci Pavilion opened 20 years ago, the architect Santiago Calatrava remarked that “…we have not designed a building, but a piece of the city.” Today, the building is one of Milwaukee’s favorite emblems and the city’s largest work of art. Celebrate this landmark and its architecture all month with these activities!

  1. See the Burke Brise Soleil (or “wings”) open and close.
    The Museum’s moveable sunscreen opens with the Museum, closes and reopens at noon, and closes again when the Museum closes (weather and wind permitting). Watch with friends and family, and impress them with these fun facts: the Burke Brise Soleil has 72 steels fins, weighs 90 tons, has a 217-foot wingspan, and takes three minutes and 30 seconds to open or close.
  2. Watch the film It Started with a Dream.
    Take a seat in Lubar Auditorium, and see how architects, engineers, and construction teams worked with Museum leadership to transform Calatrava’s watercolor sketches into an architectural work of art. See the film during Museum hours on September 16 and during Doors Open Milwaukee on September 24–25.
  3. Get the inside scoop from the architecture audio guide.
    Bring your headphones and mobile device to hear the free architecture audio guide. Explore the Quadracci Pavilion from top to bottom while going at your own pace. Start listening in English or Spanish at
  4. Bring architecture to life for kids with the Family Guide.
    Learn fun facts, find shapes, sketch a portrait, and more when you pick up a free Architecture Family Guide from the ArtPack Station.
  5. Join one of the Architecture and Collection Highlights Drop-In Tours.
    Embark on a journey through the Museum’s architecture and collection led by an expert docent. Tours are every Saturday at 2 p.m.; join the next one on September 17.
  6. Visit during Doors Open Milwaukee.
    Appreciate the architecture of the Quadracci Pavilion during this city-wide celebration of Milwaukee’s favorite places on September 24 and September 25. Enjoy docent-led tours and live musical performances of an original composition created as part of the Songs About Buildings and Moods series.
  7. Celebrate Santiago Calatrava Day.
    Everyone is invited to the Museum to celebrate Santiago Calatrava Day on Friday, September 16, with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Help the Quadracci Pavilion remain a vital community gathering place and source of inspiration for the next 20 years! Become a supporter by joining as a Museum Member or making a donation.  

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