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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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Hello Mr. or Ms. applicant for the position. First question: Can you tell us where the button is that makes the rattle snake rattle?

Applicant: "What?"

MPM Hiring Committee: "Thanks... we'll let you know."

As I wrote in my previous entry, I'm so happy to hear the Milwaukee Public Museum appears to be looking local in its search for a new president.

Hopefully they'll find someone who, like so many of us, truly appreciates the magic of our fantastic museum. When it looked pretty rocky for the museum a few years ago, I was sick. I remember thinking, I'm so close to being able to walk the Streets of Old Milwaukee with my own children.

I finally got it together, and my wife and I brought the bunch over the holidays. I got chills as 4-year-old Ella ran, peaking into every window in the Streets, and the European Village.

Young Max shuttered when the thunder and lightening illuminated the dinosaurs. Ella asked, "Is that guy eating that other guy?" 

Yep. Some Dinosaurs were pretty mean. 

Olivia screamed when a butterfly landed on her face.

That is our museum.

Priority number one for the new president should be to protect those things for generations to come. My hat is off to Dan Finley for doing that over these past few years.

Some other thoughts from where I sit (prospects feel free to take what you like from here, I'm not applying):

Focus on local: I'd love to see the museum give us more of what we love. I thirst for local history. Can we expand on the "Streets of Old Milwaukee?" Can some of our larger, temporary exhibits focus on Milwaukee and/or Wisconsin?

Destination restaurant: I don't profess to understand all the franchising stuff, but the first thing that comes to mind is a Rain Forest Cafe type joint. The cafeteria is fine, but how about adding an attraction that also serves food. You've got lots of space where Discovery World used to be.

More events: I'd love to see more public, special events. Night at the museum for couples... dinner at the new restaurant, and special after hours admission. How about an evening guided tour of the "Streets" or more lectures from the brilliant minds who bring the exhibits to life?

Charitable outreach: That's a big salary! Nearly $200,000. How about a pledge to commit 10% of that salary to other area charities? Things like Northwestern Mutual Foundation, the Jane Bradley Petitt Foundation, or MPTV? You're still taking home $180,000, and building tremendous goodwill and mutual support.

Keep bringing it: These major exhibits have been a resounding success and a big reason the museum remains on its feet today. Just keep doing what you're doing.

But what do I know about running a museum? What do any of us know? I guess we know what we like... and knowing that will give the next man or woman a good chance at success.

If you haven't been the museum lately... stop back. Bring your kids, or someone else's (ask their parents first) and watch their eyes light up.

In case you forgot... the button for the snake is around the right side of that panorama. It's smaller, and harder to find than I remember, but it's still there.


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