The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is the city's oldest cultural organization. Established as the Madison Art Association in 1901, the organization presented education programs and exhibitions in borrowed spaces. In 1964, the organization leased the old Lincoln School on Lake Mendota and merged with the Madison Art Foundation to become the Madison Art Center. In 1980, the Madison Art Center moved into the Madison Civic Center, where it continued to organize and present ambitious exhibitions. In 2003, the Art Center's name was changed to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) to more accurately reflect the museum's ongoing mission.
After its distinguished 105-year history in borrowed and refurbished spaces, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art opened to the public on April 23, 2006, in a new facility connected to Overture Center for the Arts.
Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the museum's exhilarating facility offers 51,500 square feet of space for the study, presentation, and conservation of modern and contemporary art, as well as a 7,100-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden. Public amenities include spacious galleries, a 230-seat lecture hall, a children's classroom, a new-media gallery, and a study center for drawings, prints, and photographs.
The facility was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi, a long-time friend of the museum.