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Research Initiatives

Research is at the heart of every activity at the Art Institute of Chicago: building and caring for our collection, organizing exhibitions, producing scholarly publications, and presenting new and engaging information to our public.

Driven by the museum’s eleven curatorial departments in collaboration with the museum’s conservation and science departments, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, and the department of Publishing, research forms the foundation of the Art Institute’s reputation for innovation and scholarship.

The department of Academic Engagement and Research was formed in 2017 to advance interdisciplinary, exploratory research on the museum's collections and to support collaborations between professors, students, scholars, artists, and museum staff, including fellowship programs and scholarly initiatives. Through curriculum building, focused events, and curatorial training opportunities, the department promotes innovative, multivocal research practices that extend the boundaries of conventional art historical canons and fosters equity and inclusion in shaping the next generation of museum professionals.

Partnerships with local institutions, such as the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Argonne National Laboratory, create opportunities for new developments in curatorial and conservation research. The Art Institute’s research endeavors have been nurtured by the support of visionary foundations, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Kress Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Read more about our research initiatives by searching through the menu bar at left.

Learn more about the department of Academic Engagement and Research in our newsletter.