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Doors Open Milwaukee Offers Tours Of Historic Neighborhoods And Sites In-Person And Virtually

Maayan Silver
Milwaukee's skyline from the harbor.

Milwaukee is filled with fascinating, historic buildings, but we rarely get an opportunity to explore them. This weekend you'll be able to do so with the annual Doors Open event offered by Historic Milwaukee.

This year Doors Open is expanding the event with virtual tours of several unique neighborhoods around the city. These behind-the-scenes tours will offer an in-depth look at the businesses, art, and community spaces that define Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Grace Fuhr is the Events Director for Historic Milwaukee. "We're excited for Doors Open to launch three new neighborhood tours. One of them is the Silver City neighborhood. Another is Avenues West, and one is Villard Avenue. And again, those are all completely free to take. The Silver City app tour is available in English and Spanish," says Fuhr.

Lidia Villazaez is the Community Outreach Manager for the Silver City Neighborhood with VIACDC, formerly known as Layton Boulevard West Neighbors. She agrees that providing the tour in Spanish is a significant asset for Doors Open. Villazaez points out that changes like these make community engagement more comfortable.

"I'm a huge advocate for language accessibility throughout the city. I think it's incredibly important, and I think that's a step forward for their organization. And just as a good example to show people that it's not that difficult to add language accessibility into your thought process when creating and developing projects," Villazaez explains.

Other aspects of Doors Open this year include a virtual water scavenger hunt which explores the relationship between Milwaukee’s water and the city’s industrial, commercial, civic, and residential development. The water scavenger hunt will take place virtually September 25th through October 3rd.

"People can locate 10 locations throughout Milwaukee and take pictures of those, and interact with that on social media. We have some really cool prizes, including a kayak trip that you can win, and that's in partnership with Fund For Lake Michigan. So there's lots of ways to interact with the event, whether virtually or in person," says Villazaez.

Starting September 25th and September 26th, people can visit 70 locations across the city. According to Villazaez, the 70 locations is a scaled-down version of the normal 180 tour locations. This year, locations that people can explore include the Grand Theater, Black Cat Ally, and Alice's Garden.

"I love the diversity in culture, age, ethnicity. And you really see that as you're walking around through the neighborhood, through the people that you see, the types of artwork that are around, the businesses," says Villazaez.

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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