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If there’s one thing Chicago has plenty of when it comes to tourism it’s museums worth visiting. From history and art museums to science and nature, Chicago has a wealth of fascinating museum collections and exhibits. Here are some of the most notable, loosely categorized by subject. 

Arts & Humanities

Art Institute of Chicago – One of Chicago’s most prominent cultural buildings, the Art Institute of Chicago is host and permanent home to more than 300,000 works of art. Both classic and contemporary pieces can be found within the numerous galleries and halls. 

Museum of Contemporary Art – Housing one of the most expansive collections of contemporary art in the nation, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts both touring exhibits and showcases the works of local Chicago rising artists. The museum also hosts a number of workshops and discussions. 

Richard H. Driehaus Museum – Stationed within the historically restored Nickerson Mansion which was originally built in 1883, the Richard H. Driehaus Museum exhibits art, architecture, and design from the Gilded Age to the present. It provides an immersive experience while offering educational and cultural programs alongside the exhibitions.

National Museum of Mexican Art –  As home to more than 9,000 influential works of art dating back to ancient times, the National Museum of Mexican Art, is one of the nations largest collections of Mexican art. It also holds the distinction of being the only Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums for the quality of its collections.

American Writers Museum – The first museum solely dedicated to celebrating the legacy and works of American writers, the American Writers Museum seeks to engage visitors in exploring the influence of American writers on our history, identity, and daily lives. 

Science & Mathematics

Adler Planetarium – The Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium to open to the public in the nation. Its exhibits include our solar system, the first mission to the moon, Chicago’s night sky, and planet explorers.

Museum of Science and Industry – This is one of the world’s largest science museums. Its more than 400,000 square feet houses hands-on exhibits with a mission to “spark scientific inquiry and creativity.” From exhibits on how technology is transforming our lives to coal mines and submarines, this museum will take more than just one day to explore.

Chicago Academy of Sciences: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Chicago’s first museum open to the general public was founded by amateur scientists and nature lovers in 1869. After the Academy of Science’s first building was lost in the great Chicago fire of 1871, it was rebuilt in Lincoln Park in 1894. Since then, it has provided extensive hands-on science education and allowed visitors to reconnect with nature. 

Culture & History

The Field Museum  – A natural history museum boasting a collection of almost 40 million artifacts and specimens, The Field Museum supports ongoing research into the objects in its collections. Through continuous research the museum seeks to “to explore, protect, and celebrate nature and culture.”

DuSable Museum of African American History – The DuSable Museum of African American History offers exhibits, activities, and programs that serve to highlight African and African American history, culture and art. The museum seeks to “promote understanding and inspire an appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans.”

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center – The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center seeks to preserve the legacy of the Holocaust and provide education combatting hatred, prejudice, and indifference. The museum houses over 20,000 artifacts belonging to victims and survivors of the Holocaust. 

Miscellaneous But Amazing

Chicago Children’s Museum – Stemming from budget cuts to arts programs for children, the Chicago Children’s Museum was founded to provide arts, STEM, and imaginative play opportunities to all children. Opportunities for fun abound in the museum including digging for dinosaur bones, water play, and climbing a three-story schooner. 

wndr museum – The wndr museum is a fun immersive, interactive museum of art, imagination, and curiosity. Wndr’s experiential art exhibits seek to stimulate all the senses through carefully curated works of art.  This is far from your traditional art museum so come prepared to be awed.