Chicago, IL

Take Advantage of Chicago Free Museum Days This Summer as Part of Your Staycation

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Chicago has numerous museums that have days throughout the summer when you can visit for free
Adler Planetarium is one of Chicago's museums that have free admissions daysPhoto byYevkusa/flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Chicago is a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. One of the best ways to experience this cultural extravaganza without breaking the bank is by taking advantage of the numerous free museum days offered throughout the year. Here is a list of the Chicago museums that you can visit without breaking the bank this summer.

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum, located houses an extensive collection of artifacts, archives, and exhibitions that explore various aspects of Chicago's past. The museum aims to engage visitors in discovering and understanding the city's history through a range of interactive displays, educational programs, and events.

The permanent exhibitions at the Chicago History Museum cover a wide range of topics, including the history of Chicago's neighborhoods, the Great Chicago Fire, the city's cultural heritage, and its role in shaping American history. These exhibits utilize multimedia presentations, historical artifacts, and immersive storytelling techniques to provide a comprehensive and engaging experience for visitors.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Chicago History Museum often features temporary or rotating exhibits that delve into specific themes or periods of Chicago's history. These special exhibits offer unique perspectives and in-depth explorations of significant events, individuals, or aspects of the city's past. Unfortunately, the specific information about the special exhibits taking place at the museum this summer is not available in the provided search results.

Free days during which you can enjoy the museum without paying are June 19, 28 and July 4.

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, home to an extensive collection of artwork from around the world, also offers free admission for Illinois residents. This presents an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in masterpieces by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh. The Art Institute is offering free admission after 5:00pm on Thursdays through the end of August.

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center stands as a cherished community institution in Chicago, serving as the city's first non-profit museum devoted to the collection, documentation, preservation, study, and sharing of the rich history and vibrant culture of Africans and African Americans. It is a significant hub that focuses on commemorating the heritage of these communities, celebrating their contributions, and educating visitors about their profound impact on society. The museum is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of African and African American history, making it a vital resource for individuals seeking to explore and engage with this important aspect of Chicago's cultural landscape.

The Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission to various groups on specific days. Children under 14, Chicago teens under 18, Link and WIC cardholders, and Illinois educators can enjoy free access every day [2]. Additionally, Illinois residents can visit for free on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., specifically between May 18 and August 31, 2023 [2]. This opportunity allows individuals from these groups to explore and appreciate the art collections and exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago without the burden of admission fees.

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium, a renowned destination for astronomy enthusiasts, offers free admission for Illinois residents on Wednesdays after 4 p.m. This provides an excellent chance to explore the wonders of the universe, learn about celestial bodies, and engage in interactive exhibits. Experience award winning sky shows, virtual reality solar system tours, and star gazing among other interactive activities.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA): The Museum of Contemporary Art offers several opportunities for free admission. Illinois residents can enjoy free entry on Tuesdays, and the museum also extends this privilege to various groups, including teachers, visitors with disabilities and their caretakers, active-duty military, police and fire department personnel, and veterans. By visiting the MCA, you can explore thought-provoking contemporary art exhibitions and engage with the latest trends in the art world.

The Field Museum

This year the Field Museum will offer several free admission days including June 6, 13, 19 and July 1 and 2. This will provide the perfect opportunity to experience past and present cultures, virtually visit places around the world, and examine cutting edge scientific discoveries. Currently their featured exhibit is First Kings of Europe.

Museum of Science and Industry

One of the largest science museums in the world, the Museum of Science and Industry focuses on the history of scientific discovery and how science will develop in the future, while emphasizing the importance of science education.

Two notable exhibits you can enjoy this summer include:

"Pompeii: The Exhibition" which provides a glimpse into the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was buried under volcanic ash in 79 AD. You can learn about the daily life, culture, and tragic end of the people of Pompeii through a variety of artifacts and immersive displays.

"Everest" in the Giant Dome Theater, a film narrated by Liam Neeson, which tells the story of four climbers as they embark on their journey to reach the summit of Mount Everest, shortly after the 1996 tragedy in which eight climbers lost their lives in a deadly storm. This thrilling expedition showcases the challenges and triumphs of climbing the world's tallest mountain.

This summer the museum will offer free admission on June1, 6, 7 and August 22, 28, 29.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is a significant institution dedicated to educating visitors about the Holocaust and promoting tolerance, understanding, and empathy. The museum houses a permanent exhibition that explores the history and impact of the Holocaust. It presents a chronological narrative, beginning with the rise of Nazism and Adolf Hitler's regime and continuing through the persecution and extermination of millions of Jews and other targeted groups during World War II. The exhibition highlights the stories of survivors, resistance fighters, and rescuers, shedding light on their experiences and acts of bravery.

This museum offers free admission the last Friday of every month though the end of 2023.

The Swedish American Museum

The Swedish American Museum in Chicago is a cultural institution that celebrates the heritage and contributions of Swedish immigrants in America. The museum aims to preserve and promote Swedish-American history, culture, and traditions. The museum showcases exhibits featuring photographs, documents, and artifacts that highlight the experiences of Swedish immigrants arriving in America. Chicago residents can visit this museum for free on the second Tuesday of every month.

Chicago Museums That Are Free Year Round

Choose Chicago has provided this list of museums that are always free to visit:

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Chicago's free museums and free museum days provide an excellent opportunity to explore the city's cultural treasures without spending a dime. Whether you're interested in astronomy, fine art, contemporary creations, natural history, or scientific discoveries, there's something for everyone. By taking advantage of these free admission days, you can immerse yourself in the diverse cultural offerings of Chicago and gain a deeper appreciation for the arts, history, and science. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly and seize the chance to embark on an enriching journey through the city's museums and attractions.

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