Since 1999 the Chipstone Foundation has partnered with museums to present creative argument-driven exhibitions to the public. 

Knowledge Beings

This immersive gallery designed by Chris Cornelius (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin) showcases exceptional works in clay made by thirteen Indigenous artists from diverse cultures and sovereign nations within the present-day United States. Each artwork is a being, made with the living earth by artists who observe and honor sacred presence in human and nonhuman alike. Interpretation rooted in the artists’ perspectives explores vital and varied Indigenous knowledge—about being original peoples to a place, the teachings of ancestors, and the artistic innovations that shape Indigenous futures.

Knowledge Beings is now open in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Troubled Like the Restless Sea

Co-curated by Dr. Tiffany Wade Momon, this longterm installation is inspired by Frederick Douglass’s observation that luxury household furnishings render visible the immorality and corruption of enslavers. In the gallery, we center the perspectives of Douglass and other Black and Indigenous writers to explore the legacies of slavery and colonialism in decorative arts made and used throughout the Atlantic World. Recent acquisitions of British abolitionist ceramics, iconic examples of American furniture, and key loans of Haudenosaunee silver from the Milwaukee Public Museum create a diverse and resonant portrait of the relationship between luxury decorative arts and the struggle for justice throughout the British Atlantic.

Troubled Like the Restless Sea is now open in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Accompanying video by Atesh Atici









Hidden Stories

Within our museums, systemic oppression continues to harm Black and Brown people, who are shamefully underrepresented in collections and whose voices are too often left unheard in curatorial projects. Knowing that I am entering the field of curation as a Black woman, I especially feel that it is my obligation to change the status quo. With this Chipstone curatorial initiative my goal is to help decolonize the museum world by prioritizing themes of racial equity and social justice first, to provide a museum voice for those who have for too long been unrecognized and underappreciated.

– Jordan Q. Johnson


Visit online Hidden Stories

Fo Wilson: Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities

This summer, Chicago-based artist Fo Wilson unveils Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities on the grounds of the Lynden Sculpture Garden. The full-scale structure is both wunderkammer and slave cabin; it imagines what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected, catalogued and stowed in her living quarters. What did she find curious about the objects and culture of her European captors? Southern plantation life? The natural world around her? Informed by historical research, but represented in the past, present and future simultaneously, Eliza--animated by an Afro-Futurist vision that embodies a hopeful version of an African American future--presents an imagined collection of found and original objects, furnishings and artifacts. Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities is a collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation.

Mrs. M.–––––'s Cabinet

Mrs. M.––––– ’s Cabinet is a lavish nineteenth-century interior, filled with some of the finest and most diverse objects found in the British Atlantic colonies in the seventeenth century.  This Cabinet is designed to inspire wonder, curiosity and perhaps even some mystery. Mrs. M.––––– herself is a mysterious character, one who exists somewhere between fact and fiction. Her remarkable tale and impressive collection allow the Chipstone Foundation to tell unexpectedly true stories about early America. 

Mrs. M.–––––’s Cabinet is now open in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Visit Mrs. M.–––––’s Cabinet

The Dave Project

Today we know him today as “Dave the Potter” or just “Dave.” Highly talented, he created monumental ceramic vessels that are now found in the finest art museums in America. David Drake (ca. 1800-1870s) is a heroic historic figure, and his story and craftsmanship inspired The Dave Project gallery, which celebrates the stories and skills of important African American artisans.  The Dave Project includes work by Thomas Commeraw, Thomas Day, David Drake, Miligan Frazier, John Hemmings, John Sable, Rich Williams and others.

Milwaukee-based artist Mutope J. Johnson (b. 1954) created the eight paintings featured on the labels in The Dave Project gallery. Johnson created each image based on careful research, collaboration with the Chipstone team, and his own creative response to the objects.  His paintings enrich the stories we are able to tell about the artists featured in The Dave Project by visualizing the worlds these objects once inhabited. 

The Dave Project is now open in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Art of Carving

Carving is more than just a type of decoration. It can augment forms and structural details, emphasize the flow of a design, communicate ideas, and stimulate the imagination. This gallery explores the “Art and Mysterie” of carving through some of the finest examples of eighteenth-century American decorative arts.

The gallery brings together fifty of the most celebrated examples of early American carving from both local and national collections. Two videos created for the gallery, as well as engaging comparisons among a variety of objects, from print sources and stove plates to chairs and bed posts, transform the way visitors think about The Art of Carving. 

The Art of Carving is now open in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum