The Top Museums in Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Museum Exhibit
Wisconsin Historical Museum Exhibit | © John Benson / Flickr

From quirky collections to world-class art and science, Madison has some of the best museums in the state. Whether you’re looking for a fun family day out or want to learn more about the area’s history, these top museums should be on your must-see list while spending time in Wisconsin’s state capital!

Chazen Museum of Art


Chazen Museum of Art | © John Benson/flickr
© John Benson / Flickr

The Chazen Museum of Art is an art treasure trove on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s sprawling campus. With over 20,000 pieces of art, the museum’s ever-growing art collection has become the second biggest in Wisconsin. Visitors will be delighted to find a large variety of works from all corners of the globe and spanning a wide range of historical periods. The museum also offers tours and hosts a number of educational programs and special events.

Madison Children’s Museum


Madison Childrens Museum | © Richie Diesterheft/flickr
© Richie Diesterheft / Flickr

The Madison Children’s Museum is a place where learning can be achieved through creative playing. Through a number of exciting, interactive exhibits, children can discover science, art, history, and so much more while having fun at the same time. In addition to the regular exhibits, the museum also hosts a number of events and programs, including some that are designed for grown-ups.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art


Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
© Franco Folini / Flickr
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) is easy to spot on State Street with its triangular glass façade. The museum comprises four galleries, including one specially equipped for film or sound-based artwork. With rotating exhibitions covering a range of contemporary art styles and free admission, there is no excuse not to check it out.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum


Exhibit at Wisconsin Veterans Museum | © kenneth casper/flickr
© kenneth casper / Flickr

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum has been sharing the stories of the state’s military veterans for over 100 years. From the Civil War to present day, the museum chronicles the history of the brave men and women from Wisconsin who fought for their country. Admission is free, and its central location makes it easy to visit.

National Mustard Museum


National Mustard Museum | © BobbbyLight/flickr
© BobbbyLight / Flickr
Just outside of Madison, the National Mustard Museum is one of the most unusual attractions in the area. Nearly 6,000 mustards from all 50 states and more than 70 countries are on display, along with hundreds of other mustard-related items in the collection. Entry into the museum is free, so you can save your pennies to make a tasty purchase at the gift shop.

Wisconsin Historical Museum


Wisconsin Historical Museum Exhibit | © John Benson/flickr
© John Benson / Flickr

For those interested in learning more about the state’s history, there is perhaps no better place than the Wisconsin Historical Museum on Capitol Square. The museum takes a hands-on approach to history by giving visitors the opportunity to explore replicas of a 1,000-year-old house, a lead mine, and a fur trading post, in addition to learning about the historical artifacts on display.

University of Wisconsin Geology Museum


© Patrick Kuhl / Flickr

The University of Wisconsin Geology Museum has the second highest attendance of any museum on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus. It houses exhibits about geology and paleontology, and admission is free, making it accessible for everyone to come and learn about these topics. The museum’s biggest attraction is the Boaz mastodon skeleton, which was discovered in Wisconsin in 1897.

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