Explore Milwaukee: Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear

Today Dominic and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear. This was our first time visiting and I have to say that I was absolutely blown away. This place is truly a hidden gem of Milwaukee and I encourage everyone to visit.

The Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear really focuses on Milwaukee history in the 1920s and 1930s. Avrum Chudnow, who collected many of these items, had a huge collection and the museum, which is full of many interesting and varied things, is only able to display about 5% of it at a time – so that should give you an idea of the size of the collection. For example, in the drug store exhibit, where we saw various medicines and soaps, we learned that the museum has over 1,000 bars of soap in their collection that they rotate through.

Dominic and I had such a blast at this museum! It was empty today and Steve graciously gave us a tour through all of the museum’s many exhibits. He was wonderful and we learned so much about the time period and the museum’s collection from him. I won’t reveal all the museum’s secrets, but here is a little about the museum as told through our pictures.

Ice Cream Parlor at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear

This is a vintage ice cream parlor. They also sell vintage sodas if you’d like to drink one! Hardware Store

This is the hardware store. Dominic enjoyed the vintage toaster (not pictured). It only toasted one side of bread at a time, can you imagine?
Grocery Store

The grocery store includes a vintage ice box, just out of the frame of this picture. Train Station

The vintage train station really gives you the feel of stepping into a train station. Dominic weighing himself on a penny scale.

Dominic tested out the penny scale. It really works! This museum has wonderful interactive features – including several buttons you can push that really immerse you in the sounds of the 1920s and 1930s. Another thing is that the exhibits are very close up, which definitely gives you the real feeling of stepping back in time as if you were really there. Drugstore

Across from the penny scale is a drug store. Check out all the crazy things that people used to think were healthy for you. Steve demonstrating the victrola for us

Steve played the record on the Victrola for us. It’s from the 1920s and it really works. Simply amazing. Vintage toys

Checking out all the vintage toys.Dominic watching a film about the history of MasterLock

We watched half of a short film on the history of MasterLock in this vintage set up theater. Vintage radio displays

These vintage radios are remarkable. Can you even imagine that in roughly 100 years we went from that to the smart phones that everyone carries around in their pockets?


This is an old-fashioned barbershop! But the best part of this is, if you turn around and push the mirror aside, there is a speakeasy you can enter! It’s so much fun. This led to Dominic’s first lesson on prohibition. Hey, it’s history.

Dominic using the old telephone

This is another one of the great interactive features! The three telephones in the museum are hooked up and actually work. Dominic and I were able to talk to each other on the phone. Old political campaign items

This is just a small section of the political memorabilia they have. There are so many buttons in this room, I couldn’t even begin to look at them all. It’s amazing.

This isn’t even a picture of every exhibit – there are more that I didn’t photograph! Even the bathroom on the second floor is both an exhibit and a working bathroom. Crazy, right? You can tell a lot of care and attention to detail went into this museum and I seriously think that everyone should visit.

The Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear is a smaller museum, so they have more limited hours, but they are well worth trying to fit in a visit during the hours. The prices are really reasonable too – $5 for adults and $4 for kids, students, and seniors and $10 for the whole family on Sunday, with under 6 years old being free all the time. They are raising prices by $1 on December 1st, but that’s still such an amazingly reasonable price for such an awesome place. You can find out more about them by visiting their website. I really loved it and totally encourage you to plan a visit. Special thanks to Steve who really helped make this visit special.

Afterwards, when I asked Dominic what he thought, he told me that it was awesome and that he loved it. We had some great discussions about history in the car ride. His favorite part was definitely the telephones he told me.

Have you visited the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear in downtown Milwaukee? Did you enjoy it as much as we did? 

Disclaimer: We just visited this place and loved it! Not compensated or anything. But in addition to donating to this museum, one of the things that I can do to show my appreciation for this place is sharing about it with others, like you. 

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