The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world's diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession's highest ethical standards and practices.
The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879 as both a museum and school, first stood on the southwest corner of State and Monroe Streets. It opened on its present site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893. Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school's graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country. Within the next decade, a new complex will continue this process of growth.
As a major cultural hub of Chicago, the Art Institute is committed to supporting the city and its citizens through extensive outreach and education programs, free access, and accessible public spaces in the museum's complex.
Photographer: H. G. Esch