Top 9 Art Galleries and Museums in Chicago
The art scene is alive and well in Chicago which means there are plenty of galleries and museums to go see. Whether you want to pass your love of art on to your child or you want to add some culture to your family’s weekend, here is our list of 9 family friendly art galleries and museums for you to check out.
9. Art Institute of Chicago
With over 1.5 million visitors a year, the Art Institute is one of the top cultural institutions in the city. The museum features works of art from all over the world and changes up exhibits throughout the year to showcase other artists. The Art Institute has an artist’s studio which offers activities that visiting families can drop in and participate it. What better way to inspire a love of art than by encouraging your children to make crafts in one of the best museums in the world.
8. Museum of Contemporary Art
Showcasing beautiful art in a beautiful building, the MCA aims to showcase what it means to live in Chicago as well as the world. It of course focuses on contemporary art but demonstrates all of the different types of contemporary art that exist through the varied exhibits it displays. You can also witness some of their artists’ in residence and their work. This museum is great to see a variety of art that is not traditional and can inspire your children to create.
7. National Museum of Mexican Art
With so much Mexican culture in Chicago, it’s great that there is a museum that can showcase traditional and contemporary Mexican artwork. There are over 10,000 pieces in the National Museum of Mexican Art‘s permanent collection which means there is a great variety of art to be showcased. The museum also works to provide programming for families including after school art classes and Family Sundays at the museum. These programs allow for children to create traditional Mexican crafts and learn more about Mexico’s history and cultural traditions.
6. Smart Museum of Art
Partnered with the University of Chicago, the Smart Museum aims to be a 21st century academic art museum that focuses on the historical and research perspectives of the art community that are often forgotten about by the public. The exhibits reflect many different types of art and time periods so this is a great museum to explore if you like variety. The Smart Museum also hosts free family activities throughout the month that aim to encourage a love of art and exploration of creativity.
5. Intuit: Centre for Intuitive and Outsider Art
One of the more unique galleries in Chicago, Intuit aims to share what they define as outsider art to the general public. Outsiders are people who create art that is inspired by their own personal vision as opposed to the mainstream art world. Intuit has rotating exhibits as well as one permanent collections the Henry Darger apartment, which shows a glimpse into the life of a Chicago artist and displays his art work as well as his living environment. Intuit welcomes people of all ages into their gallery and really showcases the artists’ spirit which can be a beautiful thing to share with your kids and get them into the art world.
4. Stony Island Arts Bank
Owned by the Rebuild organization, the Stony Island Arts Bank is the most unique of all of the museums and galleries on this list. Stony Bank seeks to showcase not only art but music, a library and archive center, and the importance of community building. Some of the things being housed in the Stony Island Arts Bank include the Johnson Publishing Collection and Archive, Frankie Knuckle’s Vinyl Collection, and the University of Chicago Glass Lantern Slides ( a slide collection that features architecture from across history).
3. Museum of Contemporary Photography
Hosted through Columbia College Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography showcases American work. They have amassed quite the collection including their recent Midwestern Photographers Project which showcases photographers from all over the Midwestern United States. If your child is seriously interested in photography, this a great place to go to see American work and also attend an academic lecture from visiting professors about photography related topics.
2. Loyola University Museum of Art
This art museum features 8 main exhibition galleries and displays art of all types. Some of the main exhibits include the Martin Darcy Collection, the New Acquisitions gallery, and the LUMA collection. As a part of Loyola University, the Loyola University Museum of Art aims to be an educational resource as well as source of inspiration for artists of all ages.
1. The Art of Dr. Seuss
If you’ve read Cat in the Hat more times than you can count, you should stop by this best kept museum secret in Chicago. The Art of Dr. Seuss explores the well-known and the unseen art of Theodor Geisel through sculptures (known as taxidermy) , prints, and other media. This museum is the perfect place to go to explore Dr. Seuss and to show your children the man behind the books. It might even inspire them to create their own crazy fantasy lands.