The current site of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at Martin Luther King Drive and North Avenue may become the new home of Wisconsin’s Black Historical Society/Museum (WBHSM).
The WBHSM could be the anchor of a proposed new development that would include affordable apartments, market rate housing and commercial space.
The proposed development could also include an extension of Milwaukee’s new streetcar, The Hop, from downtown to Bronzeville along King Drive.
The WBHSM is now located at North 27th and West Center Streets, where it has been since its opening 30 years ago. The museum, founded by Clayborn Benson, preserves the history of African Americans in Wisconsin. It would continue its mission on the new site, thus continuing the development of cultural attractions in the Bronzeville area.
The area includes the new site of the resurrected America’s Black Holocaust Museum, which is set to open in 2019 within the street-level space at The Griot Apartments, which opened last summer at 2235 N. Phillips Ave.
It’s been reported that the current DNR regional offices at King and North will be moved to the former Aldrich Chemical Co. building. The DNR is moving its 110 workers to the new Aldrich location because of rising maintenance costs at its current 47,000-square-foot building.
The DNR has been at its present location since 1983. The plan is to move all staff to the new offices by fall of 2020. City officials reportedly hope the state will demolish the DNR building and return the clear the site and return it to the city.