Museum Guidelines

Our guidelines help protect the museum’s collection and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Please follow security officers’ instructions and remember that touching works of art is strictly prohibited. Watch our videos "Welcome to the Art Institute" and "When You Arrive" for a brief introduction and orientation to the museum.

Please plan ahead, as the following items are not allowed in the galleries:

  • Art materials other than pencil (including ink pens)
  • Backpacks and backpack baby carriers
  • Bags, camera bags, or purses larger than 13 x 17 x 4 inches
  • Shopping bags
  • Flowers or balloons
  • Food or drink
  • Toys
  • Tripods, flash attachments, video cameras, or "selfie sticks"
  • Umbrellas (small umbrellas can be stowed in bags)
  • Wrapped packages (gifts)
  • Tricycles, carts, hoverboards, Segways, and other mobility devices

The following items cannot be checked:

  • Flowers or balloons
  • Food or drink

The use of drones or similar remote-control airborne devices is not permitted on or above Art Institute property.


  • $1 per item (cash only)
  • Complimentary with membership
  • For your safety and the security of our collection, we ask that you check backpacks and any bags larger than 13 x 17 x 4 inches.
  • Courtesy bags are available to carry valuable items with you.
  • All bags are subject to security inspection.

The checkrooms are for patrons only. The Art Institute of Chicago reserves the right to refuse to check any item. The checkrooms stop accepting items 15 minutes prior to closing. The Art Institute of Chicago is not responsible for lost, damaged, or unclaimed items.


Photography and video are permitted in the museum under the following guidelines:

  • Museum staff reserves the right to prohibit the use of camera or video if it is a disruption and/or perceived that it might endanger works of art or museum patrons.
  • Equipment must not exceed the size of a SLR camera designed for personal use.
  • On occasion, lender restrictions prohibit photography and video in special exhibitions. We will clearly note when those restrictions apply. Otherwise photography and video are encouraged. Dry sketching is also permitted.
  • Flash, tripods, monopods, handheld microphones, selfie sticks, and other extraneous equipment are not allowed in the galleries.
  • All imaging documentation must be for personal, nondistributional, noncommercial use only.

Members of the media should contact our Department of Public Affairs at (312) 443-3363 or to arrange shoots for still photography and film.


For pencil sketching in the museum, please consult with the security officer in the appropriate gallery. Paper and pads must be no larger than 13 x 17 inches. Easels, stools, or anything that interferes with movement in the gallery are not permitted.


The museum is accessible for stroller use; however, strollers may be restricted in special exhibitions due to space limitations and crowd flow. Please feel free to call (312) 443-3600 prior to your visit if you have specific questions.

Cell Phones

Please turn off the sound of cell phones or pagers in the museum. Talking on mobile telephones is limited to non-gallery spaces within the museum.

Visitor Comments

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