The Definitive Guide To Chicago’s Newly Reopened Museums

Colby Smith Colby Smith

The Definitive Guide To Chicago’s Newly Reopened Museums

See, learn, and explore the galleries of Chicago’s wonderful collection of museums.

While many museums were gracious enough to stimulate our minds in quarantine with virtual tours of their various expositions, we all know that the experience just isn’t the same as it is in person. Thankfully, most of Chicago’s most illustrious, provocative, and imaginative museums have reopened to the public.

Field Museum

Photo credit: @erinhoytphotography

Location: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

The recently reopened Field Museum is not allowing non-members to visit. Field encourages visitors to order their tickets in advance, as the entries will be times. Online orders get $3 discounts on the All-Access Pass. Their present exhibitions include the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, Inside Ancient Egypt, Apsáalooke Women and Warriors, and the Grainger Hall of Gems. The Rice Native Gardens are also open for a pleasant stroll.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Photo credit: @mcachicago

Location: 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Hours: 11 am – 6 pm

Until August 24, members and nonmembers alike will be able to enjoy the Museum of Contemporary Art with free admission. In order to get free tickets, visitors must make an advanced reservation through their website. The museum is currently operating on 25% capacity and is reserving the first hour of the day to guests “at an increased risk and who may be more susceptible to the virus.”

Their current expositions include: Seeing Chicago — a curation of hundreds of pieces of art by British-Nigerian fashion designer Duro Olowu from the city’s collections; and Just Connect — a pandemic-focused exposition that explores our various ways of connecting and reflecting throughout this time.

Art Institute of Chicago

Location: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Hours: 1 – 8 pm (Thursday & Friday); 11 am – 6 pm (Saturday – Monday)

In celebration of their reopening, the Art Institute of Chicago is offering a week of free admission to its visitors. Those looking to score free tickets must order them in advance online. To ensure that safety protocols are upheld, the tickets will have a timed entry. Presently, the museum has 8 new exhibitions on display, including:

  • El Greco: Ambition and Defiance
  • Malangatana: Mozambique Modern
  • Toulouse-Lautrec and the Celebrity Culture of Paris
  • Signs and Wonders: The Photographs of John Beasley Green
  • Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City
  • Noda Tetsuya: My Life in Print
  • Intimate Modernity
  • PHOTOGRAPHY + FINE ART: Material Meanings — Selections from the Constance R. Caplan Collection

Children under 14, Chicago teens under 18, Illinois educators, Link and WIC cardholders are permitted free entry to the museum every day.

Frederick C. Robie House

Location: 5757 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Hours: 10 am – 3 pm (Thursday – Monday)

The house that Frank Lloyd Wright once described as “a cornerstone of modern architecture” is now open for guided tours. The house, completed in 1910, is the most recognize of the architect’s Prairie houses. Guided tours are limited to groups of 8. Children under 8 are not permitted inside, but can participate in outdoor audio tours recommended for families.

Shedd Aquarium

Location: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Friday – Wednesday) 11 am – 5 pm (Thursday)

Chicago’s beloved penguin-friendly aquarium reopened in early July. The aquarium has implemented a list of new safety, sanitary, and health measures to keep visitors safe, including the requirement of advance ticket orders, as well as reducing some of their high-touch surfaces and interactive exhibitions. However, the aquarium still has numerous exhibits on display, including their Caribbean Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Polar Play Zone, Stringray Touch exhibit and more. Their restaurant is also open.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Location: 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Monday – Saturday); 12 – 5 pm (Sunday)

In order to visit the museum, visitors must reserve a timed ticket online. Presently, MoCP is showcasing their exposition: Temporal: Puerto Rican Resistance, which delves into Puerto Rican history since becoming US territory, one filled with protest, resistance, as well as a change in life after Hurricane Maria.

Chicago Architecture Center

Photo: @James Steinkamp

Location: 111 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Thursday – Monday)

Reopened in early July, the galleries of the 10,000 sq. ft. riverfront museum are once again available to the public, where visitors can check out a variety of their exhibitions including The Chicago City Model Experience which features over 4,000 architectural elements telling a collective story of Chicago, as well as their Building Tall exhibit located on the second floor in the Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery. The ArcelorMittal Design Studio and Gan Lecture Hall will remain closed for the time being.

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Location: 9603 Woods Dr, Skokie, IL 60077

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Wednesday – Sunday)

Like all other museums, the Holocaust Museum has revamped its safety policies and precautions. To uphold visitor safety, the museum requires that guests order their tickets online. Additionally, the museum asks that visitors leave backpacks, coats, and other items in their car before entering the museum. The entry point will include a temperature check. Presently, the museum is featuring their Notorious RBG exhibit, which chronicles the life of the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in relation to the legendary hip-hop artist, Biggie Smalls. The museum is also showcasing their Zev & Shifra Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition and Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience Holographic Theater. 

Leather Archives and Museum

Location: 6418 N Greenview Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Hours: 11 am – 7 pm (Thursday & Friday); 11 am – 5 pm (Saturday); 1 – 5 pm (Sunday)

Founded by Chuck Renslow and Tony DeBlase in 1991, the Leather Archives and Museum was established as a library, community archives, and museum of Leather, fetish, BDSM, and kink culture and history. Presently, the museum is… Every Thursday LAM features an in-depth presentation and discussion via Zoom. Their next discussion will feature a book reading and conversation of Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art via Zoom. Their current exhibit is entitled Lens, and features leather and kink photography by Jim Wigler with D.S. Trumbull, Rick Gore, Vincent Keith, Rene Zuiderveld, Sylvester Q, InkedKenny, and Chris Jay.

American Writers Museum

Location: 180 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Wednesday – Sunday)

Dedicated to American literature and its venerated authors, the museum that originally opened in 2017 reopened in early July. The museum strongly encourages visitors to purchase their tickets online. Additionally, the museum requires guests to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Presently, the museum has a couple exhibits on display including: Tools of the Trade — which explores the various tools that have been used to write throughout the millennia, as well as My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today — an exposition that celebrates the contemporary immigrant and refugee writers in America. You can also find many of their exhibits (present and past) online virtually.

Museum of Broadcast Communication

Photo via Facebook.com/MuseumTV

Location: 360 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

Hours: 11 am – 5 pm (Friday and Saturday); 12 – 5 pm (Sunday)

Until August 2, visitors will be able to enjoy free admission to the Museum of Broadcast Communication in Chicago. While the Chicago Television Gallery will remained closed until October 18, the museum is reopening the Radio Hall of Fame as well as its Museum Store. The current exhibition on display at the MoBC is Stay Tuned: Rock on TV — a series that features artifacts, archival footage, interviews and more curated by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Photo via Facebook.com/PritzkerMilitaryLibrary

Location: 104 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Hours: 10 am – 4pm (Monday – Saturday); 12 – 4 pm (Sunday); 10 am – 4pm (Monday)

The museum is now open to the public at 25% capacity, capping the space at 50 people. Due to safety protocol and other restrictions, the library stacks and exhibitions on the third floor will remain temporarily closed. Presently the museum has two exhibits on display: their permanent Medal of Honor exposition, as well as their current exhibit, The Allied Race to Victory, which commemorates the actions that lead to the end of WWII.


See also: The Largest Outdoor Adventure Park In North America Just Opened Outside Chicago

[Featured image: @mcachicago, Instagram]