A famous Wisconsin museum is relocating. The Mustard Museum is moving from Mount Horeb to nearly Middleton next fall.
"A world class museum needs a world class facility in a world class city," says curator Barry Levenson. "I want to create a mustard palace that is more interactive, more dynamic, more wow."
The Middleton City Council has voted to support $1.4 million in tax incremental financing for a project that will renovate the vacant Middleton Antiques Mall at the corner of Parmenter Street and Hubbard Avenue into the museum's new home and at least two other rental spaces. The vote was 6-2, with some alders concerned about the extent of the city's role in the project. Levenson will get up to $50,000 to cover relocation expenses.
"The whole purpose behind this is to create traffic in our downtown," says Mayor Kurt Sonnentag.
Levenson started his museum in Mount Horeb in 1992. He says he had been looking at expansion opportunities when he stumbled upon the building in Middleton and a cooperative developer.
"We needed more space to offer more to our visitors," says Levenson. "I don't think we can continue to survive in Mount Horeb."
Levenson says he did talk with Mount Horeb village leaders regarding the museum's current home, but he says after careful review he determined the location in Middleton better suited his future plans.
The museum features more than 5,000 jars, bottles, and tubs of mustard from across the world. It also features antique mustard pots, vintage mustard advertisements and about 500 mustards for sale at its gift shop.
"It's all about people learning about mustard, the history of mustard," he says.
More than 35,000 people visit the museum each year, according to Levenson.
Doors to the museum's new location are expected to open October 1, 2009.