Museums in Chicago

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Arts & Artisans showcases work by more than 500 contemporary American artists, designers, and craftspeople. Each one-of-a-kind piece is handmade, and knowledgeable employees can expound on the history and techniques behind each functional and decorative item ranging from wood sculpture to women’s clothing. Artfully crafted jewelry helps accentuate patrons’ facial features, and a collection of jewelry boxes cradles wearable investments during casual dream sessions.

35 E Wacker Dr
Chicago,
IL
US

Recently in the news for auctioning off a Steve Martin–created piece, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art has delighted art lovers for 30 years with its massive array of intriguing modern-day masterpieces. A friend-level membership is good for unlimited free admission for two people into the gallery and its exhibits. The most recent exhibit, Tony May: Old Technology, showcases the San Jose artist's whimsical multimedia creations, including his T. Tree House—a surreal cross between a backyard tree house, studio, gigantic lantern, and Japanese teahouse, complete with a stuttering robot that generates the day's secret word. You'll also get two admissions to the annual Fall Art Auction, discounts at San Jose restaurants, and admission to the talking art discussion series, which will answer questions such as "Is this stain on my shirt art?" Migrant aesthetes will also enjoy free admission to more than 450 museums throughout the country.

220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago,
IL
US

As Earth places its bid for the 2020 Intergalactic Winter Olympics, today's Groupon invites you to rediscover what makes the universe so neat (hint: pretty much everything). For $30, you get a one-year individual membership (a $65 value) to the Adler Planetarium. You can also get a family membership for $40.

1300 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago,
IL
US

LUMA features ten galleries, a lecture hall, a library, and a gift shop. The museum’s mission is to explore, promote, and understand art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures. LUMA is dedicated to helping people of all creeds to explore their faith and spiritual quests.

820 N Michigan Ave
Chicago,
IL
US

From a 17-foot-tall statue of King Tutankhamun to a 40-ton sculpture of a human-headed winged bull that once stood in the palace of an Assyrian king, The Oriental Institute Museum houses the many-splendored wonders of ancient Middle East. The treasures–which also include jewelry, mummies, and some of the earliest written documents in the world–represent the life's work of the University of Chicago's archaeologists, the real-life Indiana Joneses who bring the past to life through their excavations and research. Guided tours help visitors explore the galleries, and special programs introduce students to hands-on archaeological experiences such as simulated digs and artifact analysis.

Exhibits spanning the history of 5,000 years fill galleries such as the Mesopotamian Gallery, where more than 1,000 objects lurk beneath the glass of custom-designed walnut cases. Graphic displays describe pottery, clay tablets, and metal jewelry from one of the world's first urban civilizations, all of which surround centerpieces such as the Code of Hammurabi. The museum's East Wing Galleries explore cultures of ancient Assyria, Anatolia, and Israel through artifacts such as a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, carved reliefs from an Assyrian palace, and Bronze Age tools, weapons, and figurines. In the Egyptian Gallery, limestone-lined cabinets house 800 objects such as carvings, canopic jars, a child mummy, and the bust of King Neferhotep.

In addition to tending to the permanent collection, the staff also assembles special events such as archaeology workshops, lectures, and screenings of films set in the ancient Middle East that let visitors delve deeper into the past. The museum also hosts enthralling temporary exhibits; on now through July 28, 2013, “Between Heaven and Earth: Birds in Ancient Egypt” explores the birds of the Nile Valley and their impact on Egyptian arts, religion, and cultural development.

1155 E 58th St
Chicago,
IL
US

A Swedish immigrant himself, Kurt Mathiasson took it upon himself to found an institution that would preserve the legacy of the Swedish-American experience within Chicago. The Andersonville-neighborhood leader opened the original Swedish American Museum in a storefront log cabin in 1976, receiving the blessing of His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, who personally attended the ceremonies. Just over one decade later, the museum moved to its present Clark Street location, giving it both the space and the means to continue its mission of celebrating Swedish heritage and the experiences of Chicago's Swedish immigrants.

The three-story museum's permanent collection boasts roughly 12,000 artifacts. These historical pieces include original passports and steamship tickets, household items that immigrants brought to the New World, and various folk crafts. Within the museum's permanent exhibits, these artifacts provide visitors with valuable insight into the struggles and triumphs of Swedish immigrants as they established a new, vibrant community within Chicago.

Beyond the permanent exhibit, the institution also features the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, which provides youngsters of all ages with hands-on opportunities to experience life in a replica of a Swedish farmhouse. Youths collect firewood, learn to milk a cow, and connect to the internet using a crank-powered modem. From there, children can board a 20-foot model of a steamship, which mimics the journey across the Atlantic and then teaches passengers about the log-cabin lifestyles of America's frontier settlers. The Swedish American Museum's Nordic Family Genealogy Center provides yet another service for interested visitors, giving them the opportunity to research their families' Scandinavian heritage.

5211 N Clark St.
Chicago,
IL
US

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