Housing a collection of more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures representing the evolution of human work, from the early forms such as farming and domestic work, through the trades such as the blacksmith, chemist, cobbler. Most recent works, depicting industrialism of the mid-18th century to post-World War II, are by German and Dutch artists.
The renovated, three-story, 38,000-square-foot concrete structure housing the collection was built in 1924 and includes a steel and glass-domed entrance, three floors of gallery space where the core collection is displayed along with special themed exhibitions culled from the collection. A spectacular green roof and rooftop sculpture garden features a dozen 9'-tall bronze sculptures – men toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs - with a commanding view of the city.
The museum is associated with the Milwaukee School of Engineering.