Opening hours:
Library: Mon–Fri 13:00–17:00 Sat–Sun closed; Architecture and Design: by appointment only
Institutional Member

The Art Institute of Chicago

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 was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879.


Focus: national, international, local. Architecture and design from 1870 to the present. The collection focuses on the powerful role that architects and designers play as agents for change in society and culture. Our collection is distinguished by its especially strong holdings of modern architecture and urban design, with a focus on architects and designers of Chicago and the Midwest, from Louis Sullivan and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to Jeanne Gang. Collection highlights include postmodernism and architecture of the early digital era, as well as a rapidly expanding collection of contemporary design that includes pivotal holdings of work by experimental and industrial designers such as Hella Jongerius and Konstantin Grcic. The mission of the Department of Architecture and Design is to collect, preserve, and interpret important works of architecture

Library Holdings
The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries constitute a major art and architecture research collection serving The Art Institute of Chicago and scholars in the fields of art and architectural history with more than 500,000 print titles, 100,000 auction catalogs, 1,200 current serial subscriptions, and extensive digital collections. Approximately 10,000 volumes are added annually. All periods and media are covered, but special emphasis is placed on architecture of the 18th through 20th centuries and 19th century painting, prints, drawings, and decorative arts.

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