Current Exhibition

Through Aug. 7, 2020
IRONBOAT: New Photography by Christopher Winters

Organized around the release of the new book “Ironboat” by Christopher Winters, this exhibition is a wonderfully vibrant and powerful collection of photographs tracing the toil and travels of a number of ironboats on the Great Lakes Superior and Michigan. Most notably, it is an artistic and visual record of the Wilfred Sykes—the largest vessel on the Great Lakes at the time of her launch in 1949—and the Edward Ryerson—one of two remaining straightdeckers on the American Great Lakes. Following the success of his book “Centennial,” in which he chronicled life aboard the century-old steamer St. Mary's Challenger, reportedly the oldest operational freight ship in the world, Winters returns to a subject that has captivated him for decades.   

As Winters puts it, “Right, wrong, or indifferent, I trace my lifelong fascination with lakeboats to Longfellow’s blockbuster failure of a recounting of supernatural visions, handed down from Ojibwe shaman via Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, then percolated mellowly through six generations of elementary school teachers before it landed on my desk at St. John’s Lutheran in 1980. Duly behexed at the age of 9, the sight of an ironboat clearing the Canadian headlands at Whitefish Point or the Thunder Cape, with her Kabibonok’ka birch bark canoe silhouette projected onto Lake Superior’s wild stage of gods and monsters still fills me with child-like wonder.”

Upcoming Exhibitions

Sept. 10 – Dec. 20, 2020
Two Edmunds: Fitzgerald and Lewandowski—Their Mark on Milwaukee

 This exhibition will highlight the industrial works of Edmund Lewandowski and explore his connection to the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Great Lakes freighter that sank November 10, 1975. Thus, in the midst of the 45th anniversary of the ship’s fateful journey, we wish to also celebrate perhaps the finest industrial painter Milwaukee has ever produced.

Included are photographs, models, paintings and film related to the Two Edmunds from the collections of the Milwaukee Public Library, Haggerty Museum of Art, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Northwestern Mutual, Flint Institute of Arts, Morris Museum of Art, The Johnson Collection and others.

Join us on Tuesday, November 10, the anniversary of the Fitzgerald’s demise, for a book signing and talk with photographer, diver and Great Lakes historian Christopher Winters.

Gallery Night and Day: October 16 & 17

E.F. Anniversary Event: November 10, 6-8pm

Past Exhibitions


    • Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee
    • Roll Up Your Sleeves: Photographs by Jim Brozek
    • Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming


    • David Plowden's Portraits of Work
    • Wallace W. Abbey: A Life in Railroad Photography
    • The Art and Mechanics of Animation: The J.J. Sedelmaier Collection


    • Masterworks from the Grohmann Museum: Celebrating 10 Years
    • Steel: The Cycle of Industry
    • Artists at Work: The Cedarburg Artists Guild
    • Artists at Work was featured on The Arts Page on Milwaukee PBS.


    • On the Job: Photography by Jim Seder
    • Milwaukee’s Industrial Landscapes: Paintings by Michael Newhall
    • Art of the North Shore Line


    • Third Annual Technical Communication Design Exhibition
    • Forge Work: New Photography by Michael Schultz
    • Carl Spitzweg in Milwaukee
    • Metal for Mettle: Historic Commemorative Medals Honoring Labor and Achievement
    • H.D. Tylle: Studies
    • The Art of the Milwaukee Road from the Milwaukee Road Collection of the Milwaukee Public Library


    • Second Annual Technical Communication Design Exhibition
    • Erich Mercker: Painter of Industry
    • Art Shay: Working
    • Trains that Passed in the Night: Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link


    • Inaugural Technical Communication Design Exhibition
    • A Working Ranch by Jim Brozek
    • Born of Fire: Scenes of Industry from the Westmoreland Museum
      of American Art
    • Bridges: The Spans of North America – Photographs by David Plowden


    • MSOE at Work: Selections from the Campus Archives
    • Carl Spitzweg: The Poor Poet and Other Characters
    • Great Lakers: Selections from the Great Lakes Marine Collection of the Milwaukee Public Library
    • H.D. Tylle: Touring Germany and Working in Wisconsin


    • Working Legacies: The Death and (After) Life of Post-Industrial Milwaukee
    • Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden
    • Milwaukee Mills: A Visual History
    • Lake Boats: The Photography of Jim Brozek and Christopher Winters


    • Wonders of Work and Labor: The Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art, Penn State University
    • Working Wisconsin: Selections from the Museum of Wisconsin Art
    • Foundry Work: A View of the Industry, The Photographs of Michael Schultz


    • Midwest Murals: Joe Jones and J.B. Turnbull from the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University
    • The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885)
    • Wisconsin at Work: Thorsten Lindberg Paintings and Drawings from the MCHS Collection


    • American Steel: Works from the Collection of Tom and Lorie Annarella
    • A Focus on Figures
    • Stone


    • Physicians, Quacks and Alchemists