Bradley Tech, Bay View help create Discovery World’s Milwaukee Observatory

from our partners at Discovery World

MILWAUKEE  – The Milwaukee Observatory, a stunning public art installation and Milwaukee History Experience opened on September 15th – and will open again September 22nd and 23rd. Located on the lawn of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Bradley Tech High School (700 S. 4th St.), The Observatory celebrates the Pioneers, Innovators, and Makers that shaped the neighborhood.

The Observatory was created by an inspired group of Bradley Tech High School students to answer a question: What does it take to build a 19th Century neighborhood?

“We wanted to explore why Walker’s Point began and how it grew,” said James Jones, a junior at Bradley Tech High School. “Neighborhoods don’t just happen. We make them happen. Walker’s Point history is filled with incredible people and amazing stories. We created The Milwaukee Observatory to share those stories, and we want the community to join us.”

The towering installation, which covers nearly a quarter of an acre, reveals how artists, innovators, and immigrants created a new neighborhood that activated Milwaukee as a significant urban center and economic powerhouse.

The Milwaukee Observatory features The Avenue of Personal Archaeology Banners, beautiful and moving explorations of Bradley Tech students’ family history. The Cultural Memory House visually celebrates the spirit of Latino immigrants, turn-of-the-century small businesses and shops, and early glimpses of Bradley Tech students working and learning skilled trades. The spectacular Faces of the Future portray students as the link to the past, present, and future as they hold rare Milwaukee artifacts. Historic Markers tell the story of the people – artists, entrepreneurs, industrialists, and innovators – who built Walker’s Point. Oval Innovator Heads highlight forgotten individuals who did amazing things with their lives right here in Milwaukee.

Working with Discovery World professionals, the students immersed themselves in Discovery World’s Art & Archaeology of Me program. They explored the tools and methods of archaeology fused with design, digital media, and visual art. The Milwaukee Observatory will inspire visitors to see Milwaukee in a bright and new way and discover something or someone significant to the history of Walker’s Point and beyond.

“The Milwaukee Observatory is a celebration of neighborhood history, the students’ artwork and the pioneers, innovators, and game changers that built this city,” said Heidi Heistad, Lead Developer of Discovery World’s Art and Archaeology of Me program. “It’s a place where the students and Walker’s Point residents can bring forth neighborhood history together.”

The Milwaukee Observatory will be open to the public on Saturday, September 15 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Students will be at The Observatory to record stories, scan old photographs and historical documents, take photographs of neighborhood residents, and document artifacts specific to Walker’s Point and Milwaukee. Visitors can explore 19th Century technologies, including early photography and blacksmithing, with special guest experts.

The Milwaukee Observatory is a partnership between Discovery World, Bradley Tech High School, and Bay View High School. The Observatory is sponsored by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the MPS Partnership for Humanities with additional support from the Milne Family Foundation, and the C. Paul Johnson Foundation. Bradley Tech High School has generously provided the space for The Milwaukee Observatory. For more information visit