Consistently recognized as a leader in the field of art education, the museum’s staff and volunteer docents continue to introduce thousands of schoolchildren and families to the Art Institute’s world-renowned collection and the power of art every year. The new Ryan Education Center provides a new, enlarged space for teachers and students visiting the Art Institute.
Community, educator, and school groups enter the Ryan Education Center through a new dedicated entrance, the BP Student Esplanade. This entrance allows visiting groups to remain together and acclimate to the museum away from the excitement of busy galleries. Lockers provide storage and classrooms offer space to further orient and prepare students and teachers before they begin exploring the wonders of the museum’s galleries.
Renzo Piano’s large light-filled classrooms are designed to foster a feeling of anticipation and cohesiveness that is critical to a positive museum experience. These new spaces will serve as a place for group discussion both before and after visiting the museum’s galleries; they will also be used for teacher workshops, seminars, and technology-based programs, as all five rooms are outfitted with state-of-the-art computer equipment.
In the north-facing studios looking out over Millennium Park, families, school groups, teachers, and teens will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on projects that are connected thematically to the museum’s vast collection, using traditional and new media. The studios double as lunchroom space for school groups looking to extend their visit to the museum through lunchtime.
A destination for teachers, librarians, parents, and educators of all kinds, the Crown Family Educator Resource Center supports arts integration across school curricula and interactive museum learning. Over twice the size of the former Resource Center, the new facilities house both enlarged workspaces and an expanding library of teacher manuals, periodicals, exhibition catalogues, art and art history books, art-making ideas, interdisciplinary lesson plans, videos, and gallery activities, many of which relate directly to the Art Institute's collection. Patrons may use any of these materials in the Crown Resource Center, and a selection of items in the library are also available for loan or purchase. Additionally, four computer stations provide access to online teaching materials related to the museum's collection. The Crown Educator Resource Center hosts regular professional development programming for all educators. See the Teacher Programs calendar for details.
Teachers participate in a workshop on contemporary art.