From special picture book exhibitions in the Ryan Education Center to family-friendly collections throughout the galleries, the Art Institute offers children and their parents various paths for artistic discovery.
Located in the Ryan Education Center, the Thoresen Picture Book Gallery features a rotating selection of original artwork from popular children's books as well as a reading table with copies of the featured books for families to enjoy.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, America's oldest award for illustrations created for picture books. This exhibition celebrates the momentous anniversary of Caldecott by showcasing the magical world of these prize-winning children's books with an illustration from each of the 16 books that have won the distinguished medal or honor award over the past four years. In these and all of the award-winning paintings, drawings, and prints on display, artists have conjured wondrous worlds on the page offering a place not only where their characters play, pretend, and dream but where children's imaginations can soar. Sponsor Picture book exhibitions in the Ryan Education Center are made possible by the Mr. and Mrs. William E. Thoresen Fund.
Located in the Ryan Education Center, the Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery is specifically designed for visually impaired visitors to the museum but available to all. On display are four specially treated sculptures from different time periods and places that visitors can actually touch! The sculptures in the gallery all represent the human face, and by feeling these marble and bronze objects, visitors can discover elements of the artworks—from facial expressions and styles of dress to form, scale, and texture—in ways that merely looking cannot provide.
Accompanying the artworks are text panels and labels presented in both large type and Braille. Labels were written with the assistance of a consultant, who is blind, from the Catholic Guild for the Blind. He explored the works of art while staff recorded his observations. Labels provide historical information and focus on a detailed description of the work of art to guide the visitor in touching.
Learn more about this exhibition and related programming.
The Touch Gallery has been funded by the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.
Our Trott Family and McCormick Foundation Galleries, located in the Ryan Education Center, are dedicated to displaying original artwork created by children and teens.
This exhibition of teen art delineates the stages of growth and self-discovery that take place during the teenage years and has been imagined, curated, designed, and installed by the Art Institute Teen Council, a group of 11 teens from all over Chicago-land, who have met at the museum since October.
Gallery 11 The Thorne Miniature Rooms (68 model rooms created on a one-inch-to-one-foot scale) are one of the most beloved collections at the Art Institute. These fascinating models of interiors and furnishings from the late 13th century to the 1930s were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications. Peek inside these Lilliputian interiors and discover a host of tiny treasures—from solid gold toy trains to miniature versions of modern masterpieces.
Galleries 235–237 Featuring full suits, half suits, pole arms, cannons, and a knight on horseback, this installation brings viewers closer to the world where these objects might have been seen gleaming on the parade ground or heard clanging on the battlefield. Both young and old alike can marvel at the artistry and craftsmanship in these remarkable pieces of not-so-ancient history.