The War Memorial Center was born out of the collective vision of the Zonta, Altrusa, Business and Professional Women's Club
and the Milwaukee Civic Alliance to create a fitting memorial to honor the War Dead of WWII. Our mission remains, "To Honor
the Dead by Serving the Living." Inspired by their vision, fundraising began and the community pooled its resources. The building was dedicated on Veterans Day 1957 as a testament to the men and women who served our nation when called.
Welcome to the historical timeline of the Milwaukee County War Memorial. Please click on a year below or simply let the timeline play to take you through our rich history.
Several groups including Zonta, Altrusa, and the Business and Professional Women's Club form a non-profit group (the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Inc.) with the vision of creating a memorial to honor the war dead of WWII and a place for Milwaukee's growing visual and performing arts community.
Fund drive held with goal of raising $5 million to construct three facilities: a fitting war memorial center, a visual arts center and a performing arts center.
Over $2 million is raised from the contributions of more than 70,000 individuals and private businesses. The decision is made to construct a veterans and visual art center, adding the performing arts center later.
After seven years of controversy over the location, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors approves the use of lakefront park land for the project.
Construction begins on the War Memorial Center, a unique building designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen.
Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery merge to form the Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee Art Museum. The organization is given permanent facilities within the War Memorial Center to provide Milwaukee County with works of art for the heritage and enjoyment of generations to come.
The original building is dedicated on Veterans Day, 1957.
Mosaic mural by artist Edmund D. Lewandowski is installed on the West façade of the building. The large roman numerals in the mural represent the dates of WWI and the Korean Conflict.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum becomes part of the War Memorial Corporation.
The Performing Arts Center, now known as Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, is dedicated as the third entity of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Inc.
Ground is broken at the War Memorial Center for an addition to house the growing collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The Kahler Building Addition, designed by Kahler, Fitzhugh and Scott of Milwaukee is dedicated adding 151,359 square feet to the War Memorial Center.
Charles Allis Art Museum is added as part of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Inc. on July 1, 1979.
Southeast Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Veterans Park.
On December 10, 1997 ground is broken on the South side of the War Memorial Center for the highly-anticipated Calatrava expansion.
The Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, the first Calatrava-designed building to be completed in the United States, opens to the public on May 4, 2001. The Burke Brise Soleil quickly becomes the icon for the city of Milwaukee.
The War Memorial Center celebrates 50 years of honoring the mission, "To Honor the Dead by Serving the Living".