By Trisha Bee
MILWAUKEE (WITI) – The Milwaukee Public Museum’s south façade is getting a 21 century update. The marble cladding on the 8-story tower of the Museum, which was built in the mid-1960s, is being replaced with 234 solar panels. Work on the project, scheduled to last approximately five months, started Monday, July 29th with preparation for the removal of the marble exterior.
Over the past 50 years, the Museum’s heavy marble façade has weathered and become less stable, creating the need for an update on the south wall facing Wells Street. MPM explored both the use of recycled material and solar panels as replacement options, and decided on the later because of the energy-generating potential of solar. Milwaukee-based manufacturer Helios USA has been contracted to produce the Museum’s solar panels.
MPM’s solar wall is expected to generate 77,533 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, the equivalent of having 442, 60-watt light bulbs on for eight hours every day for an entire year. MPM will be the only building in Milwaukee with a full solar wall that is generating electricity.
During removal of the marble cladding, the MPM’s Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium and Bugs Alive! exhibit will be closed to ensure safety of Museum visitors and staff members. This phase of construction is expected to last approximately four weeks.