Museum Marvels: 7 World-Class Cultural Institutions


By Dave Lifton

Embark on a journey through the cultural wonders of Chicago as we unveil seven world-class museums that captivate the imagination.

Art Institute of Chicago 

With a permanent collection of nearly 300,000 works, the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park is one of the world’s most celebrated art museums, and is renowned for its collection of French Impressionism and Americana paintings. The current exhibit is Picasso: Drawing from Life, which runs through April 8, 2024. 

Museum of Illusions

In the heart of the Loop sits the Museum of Illusions, an immersive experience that challenges visitors to understand the difference between perception and reality in a fun and engaging presentation. The museum expanded in November 2023, adding 30 percent more space and 20 new exhibits. 

Museum Campus 

Located in the southern corner of Grant Park east of Dusable Lake Shore Drive, the Museum Campus consists of three of Chicago’s most popular educational destinations: The Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Nearly 4 million people visit the museums annually. 

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry has 400,000 square feet worth of exhibits that fascinate and stimulate the mind, including a captured World War II German submarine, coal mine and baby chick hatchery. MSI is in Jackson Park on the South Side, and is housed in the only building created specifically for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition still standing. 

International Museum of Surgical Science

Housed in a Gold Coast mansion, the International Museum of Surgical Science is dedicated to preserving the history of surgery through the ages. This is accomplished through artifacts, fine art and the Hall of Immortals, which consists of statues of 12 significant in the development of medicine. 

Museum of Contemporary Art

In Streeterville, steps away from the Magnificent Mile, sits the Museum of Contemporary Art. With more than 2,000 pieces, it has one of the world’s largest collections of modern works that shine a spotlight on how art reflects the time in which we live.  

Driehaus Museum

The glamor of the Gilded Age is on full display at the Driehaus Museum. Its exhibits and programs showcase the art, architecture and design of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it’s located in an 1883 mansion in River North. 

Check out our complete Museum Guide HERE

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