Free Museums in Chicago

27 August 2019

The central location of 1000M in Chicago’s downtown South Loop neighborhood positions residents to enjoy all of the rich arts and culture that the city has to offer. Here are just a few of the free museums in Chicago, where doors are always open:

 

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Only a few blocks down from 1000M, the Museum of Contemporary Photography was founded in 1976 by Columbia College Chicago. Since then, this international hub has grown its collection to include over 15,000 objects by over 1,500 artists. There is always a groundbreaking exhibit on show that you should be sure to check out.

The Museum of Contemporary Photography is located at 600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website.

 

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art is located in the culturally vibrant Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen. Home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, the museum’s curators are experts in their field, with abundant passion to boot. The museum seeks to preserve Mexican culture and also break down barriers and educate others through their exhibits and programming.

The National Museum of Mexican Art is located at 1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website

 

DePaul Art Museum

The DePaul Art Museum is part of DePaul University’s campus in gorgeous Lincoln Park. The museum has a carefully curated program of numerous contemporary exhibits each year, while also featuring works from their permanent collection of more than 3,500 objects. With a focus on modern and contemporary artists, particularly those with a direct connection to Chicago, DPAM’s offerings are rich and robust.

The DePaul Art Museum is located at 935 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website

 

Chicago Design Museum

The Chicago Design Museum was founded in 2012 by a self-described group of “incredibly scrappy volunteers.” With a premier downtown location right across from the Chicago Cultural Center and a strong mission to share design with people where they are, this museum is constantly evolving and growing. 

The Chicago Design Museum is located at Expo 72, 72 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website

 

International Museum of Surgical Science

In the mood for something a bit… stranger? The International Museum of Surgical Science is free each Tuesday. As the only museum in North America devoted to surgery, the museum showcases an impressive, and fascinatingly creepy, collection of surgical arts and artifacts⁠. 

The International Museum of Surgical Science is located at 1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website

 

The Graham Foundation

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes projects-based grants to individuals and organizations to produce exhibits, events and publications in order to foster conversation in the world of architecture. The museum is located in the incredible Madlener House mansion in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago.

The Graham Foundation is located at 4 W Burton Pl, Chicago, IL 60610. You can find more about their hours and current exhibits on their website

Additionally, the Museum of Contemporary Art is always free to Illinois residents on Tuesdays, and the Art Institute of Chicago is always free to Chicago residents on Thursdays. You can also check out a full list of Chicago’s free museum days here.