Heading east from the 1st floor main street you pass through a set of doors and series of rooms known today as the Media Room. This area contains our circulating DVDs, CDs, records, audiobooks and even further in as the space turns south, there are some circulating music books and scores. This entire space was created by the 1st addition (1909-1912). Originally a Museum space, these rooms underwent an extensive renovation in the 1960s after the museum moved out.
In the third space from the Media entrance, with CDs on the left (north), you will find the Wehr-McLenegan Room, which previously served as the library’s rare books room. This space was totally renovated in the mid-1960s after the Museum left. It was created as a place to store the rare book collection and included a gallery to display materials. The room was named for past MPL City Librarian Charles McLenegan and Milwaukee industrialist and philanthropist Todd Wehr. The rare book collection was mainly housed here until 2001 when a new space on the 2nd floor was created. Currently, it is used for storage of some of MPL’s archival materials.
Wehr-McLenegan Room, 2023
Wehr-McLenegan Room gallery entrance, 1980-1989
As we continue east into the next space, on the left, almost all the way to the windows facing 8th street, you can find the elaborate wooden entrance to the Chinese Room. This is the only space left with any remnants of its former Museum past. The room was the site of the Chinese Exhibit Room for the Milwaukee Public Museum. While the contents were relocated along with the Museum, the elaborate mosaic tile floor and its Chinese characters remain. The floor contains the thirty-six dynastic seals and the Imperial Dragon. This space was remodeled from 1947-1949 and was designed by Museum curator Elmer Goessl.
Chinese Room doors side-by-side comparison, 2019 & c. 1950s (click here to open a larger version of this image)
Chinese Room interior
Next stop: Schoenleber Reading Room
Previous stop: 1st Floor Main Street