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What to Expect


We’re so excited to welcome you back to the Art Institute—and to our new exhibitions. Visiting the museum is a little different, and we want to make sure everyone is familiar and comfortable with our new visiting policies. Here are a few tips.

Before You Visit

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Before you arrive, purchase your ticket or renew your membership online. With your member card accessible on your phone, or your ticket either available on your phone or printed, entry will be fast and touchless. And remember, if you’re a member, you never need to reserve a ticket before you visit.


Download the museum’s app. The free app is available for both Apple and Android devices and provides audio tours for works throughout the galleries, including in special exhibitions. (Just be sure to bring headphones so you can listen in the galleries without disturbing other visitors.) Members can also access their member card on the app.

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Leave any non-essentials at home. The museum’s checkrooms are currently closed, and many items, like large bags, backpacks, shopping bags, and food, cannot be brought into the galleries.

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Please do bring a water bottle. Our water fountains are off but have been equipped with water bottle-filling stations. Just make sure to stow your bottle safely in a bag during your time in the galleries.

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Review our new hours. Every day begins with a member-only hour, which of course isn’t the only time members can visit. In fact, the beginning of each day tends to be busier. We encourage all our members and visitors to check our chart of popular times to pick a time that’s right for you. And please note that we are now closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

When You Arrive

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Be sure to wear a face covering before entering the building. Face coverings are required for your entire visit and should be worn to cover both your nose and mouth.

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Maintain a six-foot distance from others not in your visiting group—while in line to enter the building and in our entrance areas. The museum’s security officers may offer help when there are lines to enter, so be sure to listen for their instructions. In our lobbies, floor decals help everyone maintain a safe distance.

During Your Visit

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Hand sanitizer is available at all entrances and exits. It’s also available at stations throughout the museum.

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Some exhibitions have capacity limits and virtual lines to help promote physical distancing in the galleries and while waiting to enter. To see certain exhibitions, including Monet and Chicago and El Greco: Ambition and Defiance, you will have to join a virtual line.

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To join a virtual exhibition line, stop by the Modern Wing information desk or the exhibition entrance, where staff is available to help provide instructions on how to reserve your spot via text.

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Once you’re checked in, you’re free to stroll through other areas of the museum. You’ll receive a text message when it’s your turn to enter the exhibition.

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We recommend that you join the virtual line as soon as you enter the museum, and please note that the member line moves a bit faster than the line for the general public.

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Some areas of the museum have one-way traffic. Look for signs with arrows to follow the designated route and maintain physical distance.

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Our amenities are currently limited. The museum’s restaurants, cafés, and Member Lounge are closed, and audio guide rental and valet service are not available at this time.

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However, the museum’s shops are open. Shop hours are the same as public museum hours, but capacity is limited in these spaces so you may have to wait to enter.

Thank you for visiting and for your support of the museum—the galleries weren’t the same without you.


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