Doors Open Milwaukee 2020 (Virtual)

Doors Open Milwaukee is a public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, and neighborhoods. This year ACM is excited to participate in the virtual presentation of Doors Open.

We’ve commissioned two composers to write new pieces for the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and the iconic City Hall.

Each piece will be filmed and recorded in the building and presented with a video tour of the building and commentary from Tom Barrett – mayor of Milwaukee, Clayborn Benson – founder of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Jim Owczarski – Milwaukee City Clerk.

The final video will be posted on the Doors Open website and available on demand from September 26 to October 11.


City Hall
– Music by Chiayu Hsu

Most cities have torn down their classic city halls in favor of a big box store look and feel. But not Milwaukee. This classic is beautiful and a credit to the city. Milwaukee’s city hall is a magnificent 1895 building that is still the seat of city government today.

The distinctive architecture, the Flemish Renaissance Revival style, not only pays homage to the local population of Germanic ancestry, but also serves as a symbol of the city in general. When first built in 1895, the City Hall was the third-tallest building in the country thanks to its spectacular bell tower, which stands at 353 ft. tall.

Designed by architect Henry C. Koch, the building was renovated and the bell tower restored in 2006.

Music performed by:
Peter Thomas – cello
Heather Yarmel – flute

Wisconsin Black Historical Society
 – Music by Angelo Hart

The Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum located on the corners of North 27 and West Center Streets opened its door and its heart to the community, city, and state in 1987. Based on the premise that a people who know their history will grow to love and appreciate themselves more, the Society is striving to create a bright future out of a heart-breaking past.

The mission of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum is to document and preserve the historical heritage of African descent in Wisconsin. The Museum exhibits, collects and disseminates materials depicting this heritage. Serving as a resource center for all people interested in Wisconsin’s rich African American heritage, the Museum’s purpose is to encourage and promote family community and cultural activities.

Founding Director, Clayborn Benson III produced the documentary called Black Communities, which was the inspiration for establishing the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum in 1987. In 1988, the Museum became an affiliated member of The State Historical Society. The building, constructed in 1898, was the Engine No. 2 Fire Station. It was converted into the Center Street Library in 1928.

Music performed by:
Benjamin Adler – clarinet
Aaron Zauner – cello

Sponsored in part by: