Rich history of MATC’s Skinner Organ detailed

New article discusses unique instrument in Cooley Auditorium

August 21, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Right in the middle of Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus stands the M Building - a stately, six-story brick structure that has served the college for more than a century.

The building oozes history, and on the second floor is a fascinating and rare piece of musical lore.

Inside the Robert L. Cooley Auditorium is the Opus 849, a pipe organ designed and built by the Skinner Organ Company. The instrument has 2,621 pipes, 34 stops and 67 registers. 

Bobby Tanzilo, a senior editor and writer with the OnMilwaukee website, recently took a deep dive into MATC’s Skinner organ in his Urban Spelunking series.

His article, “MATC's unique, world class Skinner organ,” can be found at

Tanzilo details the parts of the organ, how it functions, its history and the college’s efforts to restore and maintain the unique instrument. Numerous photos are included.

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.