Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

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Milwaukee-Wisconsin (WI)

  • Category: museums-arts
  • Section: Museums - Arts
Villa Terrace was built in 1924 for the Lloyd R. Smith (1883-1944) family. After returning from a trip to Italy, the Smiths commissioned architect David Adler to design their new home. The architecture and water stairs were inspired by Villa Cicogna Mozzoni (built in the 1560s) in Lombardy, Italy.

The ironwork in the home is from the Milwaukee studio of Cyril Colnik, an Austrian-born blacksmith. Rose Standish Nichols was a landscape designer who is credited with the original Villa Terrace planting design. No record of her plan for the Smith residence has been found.

Villa Terrace's art collection features fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th through the 19th centuries, wrought iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik and changing exhibitions highlighting the decorative arts. It is also the host of a Garden Lecture series, in which attendees are able to learn more about planning and maintenance for their home gardens.

Lloyd died in 1944. In 1966, the Smith family donated their home to Milwaukee County to serve as a Decorative Arts Museum. In 1976, a formal planting of sugar maple bosques with privet hedges and white gravel was installed. During the 1990s, The Parks Department suffered severe budget cuts, which resulted in reduced maintenance and decline.

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