The Art Institute of Chicago

Museum Overview

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded in 1879 as a combination school and museum called the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. The name was changed to The Art Institute of Chicago in 1882, and its current location dates back to 1893.  Over the years, additions such as the Fullerton Auditorium, the Ryerson Library, the George Alexander McKinlock Jr. Memorial Court, and the Kenneth Sawyer Goodman Theater have helped keep up with the growing popularity of the museum. New buildings and galleries have been constructed over the years to keep up with the ever-growing number of collections on display as well as the different styles on display, such as a gallery designed specifically for Japanese screens. The museum has many exhibitions including ongoing exhibitions such as the touch gallery, a gallery of animal images on ancient coins, an online exhibition of the plan of Chicago and the BIGsmall collection.

Plan Your Trip

The Art Institute of Chicago is located in Chicago, Illinois on 111 South Michigan Avenue.

If you are looking for a Hotel Room near the musem, we recommend the Hilton Chicago, or for smaller budgets the Club Quarters Chicago. More hotels can be found at

They are open every day 10:30am to 5pm. On weekends, they open a half hour earlier, at 10am. On Thursday evenings, the museum is open until 8pm. Visitors who arrive between 5 and 8pm are admitted for free. Adult admission is $18, students and seniors pay $12. Children under 14 are admitted for free. Chicago residents receive a $2 discount.

The Museum's Collection

The museum regularly gets new collections, so there is always something new to see. Collections generally focus on art from a specific cultural perspective. Regular galleries and collections that are always on display include The Touch Gallery, Neither Man Nor Beast: Animal Images on Ancient Coins, The Modern Wing, Without Bounds or Limits: An Online Exhibition of the Plan of Chicago, BIGsmall, Scott Burton, and Photography of Judith Turner.

The Touch Gallery is designed both to allow the blind to experience art and to allow the sighted to understand how the blind experience art. The gallery consists of five sculptures of the human head made of bronze and marble and representing different artistic styles. Labels, which are presented in large type and in Braille, include observations from a blind consultant.

Neither Man Nor Beast: Animal Images on Ancient Coins carries ancient coins from Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Many of the coins depict animals, both as in nature and modified with human attributes. There are also coins which show images of heroes, gods, and rulers, some of which have had animal attributes added to their images to emphasize traits.

The Modern Wing is a museum in its own right, containing modern sculptures and painting, contemporary architecture and design, and photography. The architecture and design exhibit includes pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Elizabeth Diller, and Lindy Roy. There is a gallery featuring a variety of housewares including tables, chairs, stools, lighting, and textiles by designers such as Ingo Maurer, Patricia Urquiola, and Patrick Jouin.

Without Bounds or Limits: An Online Exhibition of the Plan of Chicago is a museum exhibit that is partially available online for those who want to see it without going into the museum. The exhibit includes documents showing the original plans for the city of Chicago, showing the vision of  Daniel H. Burnham and the Commercial Club of Chicago.

BIGsmall is an exhibit that will appeal to children as well as adults. BIGsmall shows toys and models of large objects and shows how they can look large in art. The exhibition helps budding artists envision larger and smaller objects in their art.

Scott Burton's exhibit is located on the Blum Family Terrace. Scott Burton's sculptures of stone, metal, and concrete are known for blurring the lines between art and furniture. Visitors may touch and use the sculptures as furniture.

Photography of Judith Turner is an exhibition of highly abstract photography found in the modern wing.