Museums and cultural institutions in Madison, WI
Notably, many are free, a nice contrast to institutions in big cities, which can get away with charging admission premiums. The following are some of the most popular and accessible to visitors.
Wisconsin State Capitol
Perched high on the isthmus, the Wisconsin State Capitol is Madison’s most prominent building and the city’s de facto center. Having seen my fair share of the capitol buildings, I can confidently say that it is an upper average: a bright white dome with stately columns that deliberately unleashed the city’s public grid, like a smaller version of the United States Capitol in DC. The park-like green space surrounding the structure is delightful on warm, sunny days, though the views aren’t as good as you’d expect from such an elevated position.
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Inside, things are even more interesting. Adorned with over 40 varieties of stone and flying over 200 feet above ground level, the roundabout is astonishing. The galleries are no less impressive. The best way to really experience the place is to join one of the free tours, which leave when the Capitol is open.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art contains a permanent collection of more than 5,000 works, many of which originated with Wisconsin consanguineous artists. The venue has more than half a dozen temporary exhibitions at any one time, with mixed media and sculptures representing a disproportionate share of the offerings. Stop by in the evening for performances (free) and informal talks.
Chazen Museum of Art
Three galleries are devoted entirely to temporary exhibitions; Recent examples include “Fantastic Illustration from the Korshak Collection” and “Certainty and Doubt: Paintings by Dan Ramirez.” Wisconsin artists are well represented here, although the collection’s breadth prevents them from mastering the process.