Museum of Post Punk and Industrial Music, founded by Millikin’s Martin Atkins, wins 2023 Best Chicago Museum Award from Chicago Reader

The Museum of Post Punk and Industrial Music features artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the history of post punk and industrial music.

DECATUR, Ill. – The Museum of Post Punk and Industrial Music (PPIM), the Chicago museum founded by Millikin University School of Music Instructor and Coordinator of the Music Business program Martin Atkins, was recently named the Best Museum in Chicago by the readers of the Chicago Reader.

The Museum of PPIM finished first in the Best Museum category of the alternative newspaper’s annual Best of Chicago 2023 Arts & Culture Awards, ahead of The Art Institute of Chicago and the National Museum of Mexican Art, who were the first and second runners-up, respectively. 

Museum PPIM

“Just to be in the top five when the voting was announced late last year was an amazing moment for us, but to end up being voted No. 1 is, I think, a testament to the individual care we take of each visitor and the ability to tailor experiences to each situation,” Atkins said. “Making deeper, meaningful connections rather than just more. Adding free online virtual Zoom tours grew the audience base, too. It has been an education to create multiple intimate impactful small events rather than the traditional music business model of more tickets sold being better -- of course I understand that model -- but this has been truly transformative in so many ways.”

The Museum of PPIM opened in 2021 and includes important artifacts and memorabilia, many from Atkin’s own collection, that celebrate post punk and industrial music.

In his long career in the music business, Atkins has headlined events across the country, playing with such bands as Public Image Ltd, Killing Joke, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and his own supergroup Pigface, which has been ranked in the top 12 Greatest Supergroups by Revolver Magazine. The English drummer and session musician is an honorary board member of the Chicago-based nonprofit organization Rock For Kids, and in 2022, he was inducted as a fellow of In Place Of War by legendary musician and producer Brian Eno.

Martin Atkins

“So many times in the last (almost) three years, something (small or huge) has kept the Museum moving forward. It’s been incredibly inspiring and refueled my belief in just about everything – especially humans and the power of being nice, taking a leap, and seeing what happens,” Atkins said. “The latest is the Chicago Reader Poll, which has a special weight to it for me – not from the special badge we can put on the website – but from the knowledge that this represents a LOT of people taking the time to register and vote. It has made all of us at #teamPPIM stop for a minute, feel appreciated, and realize how important this endeavor is for all of us.

“It’s also a valuable lesson on tiny, material actions making a difference. Small acts of kindness and encouragement, you would be surprised at YOUR role in all of this. It is also absolutely (post) PUNKAF and of course industrial mindset too. Thank you all so very, very much.”

To celebrate the Museum of PPIM’s third anniversary, several unique pieces are up for auction on eBay, including rare vinyl, original scenery pieces, and even a custom drum track by Atkins. You can also support by donating to the Museum Anniversary Fundraiser category on the museum’s online store.

Atkins also hosts the annual Midwest Music Expo (MmX), bringing aspiring musicians and those looking to get into the music industry head to Millikin’s campus to learn directly from industry professionals. In addition to the lineup of speakers and artists, MmX also features a marketplace with 30 vendors selling a variety of music-related merchandise, including instruments, equipment, and apparel. Last year’s lineup expanded to events in Chicago, and the details for 2024 MmX will be announced soon.

Martin is also the advisor to the Millikin student-run label and music publishing company First Step Records, which provides hands-on experience in running an independent music label.