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The MCA’s Learning Department creates diverse programs and experiences that bring artists and audiences of all ages together to exchange ideas, share creative experiences, and explore contemporary art and culture, whether within the museum or in the classroom.


Two girls carry a sheet of cardboard above their heads as they wander through a cardboard maze. Their eyes are filled with wonder as they explore the maze.
© MCA Chicago

The MCA is a great place for families to connect with contemporary art. We offer experiences that redefine the way that kids and families explore and create art together.


A group of ten Chicago teens jump excitedly outside, each of them wearing a 21Minus shirt.
© MCA Chicago

At the MCA, teens not only view but engage with contemporary art and artists. The MCA makes museum resources accessible to youth so that they may dream, plan, and create responses to the issues that are important to them.


Did you know Illinois elementary and high school teachers receive free admission to the MCA? Simply present a valid teacher ID (or a photograph of your valid teacher ID) at the Admissions desk for free admission to the museum.

A group stands around a speaker in a gallery

Educators gather and observe works of art during a Teacher Institute tour of Otobong Nkanga: To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again, Jul 31, 2018.

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.


Group of children sitting and kneeling in a gallery raise hands as if to answer a question

Fifth graders from Skinner West Elementary School
discuss a work by John Cage with a teaching artist during a free school tour

Photo: Joshua Longbrake © MCA Chicago

Our field trips, workshops, and residencies, invite students and teachers to explore, debate, and reflect upon the important ideas that lie at the heart of contemporary art. All programs are free for Illinois K–12 schools and teachers.


A side table and two chairs in front of gridded bookshelf with books and archival boxes on display
Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

The Library and Archives is available to external scholars with specific research purposes by appointment from 9:30 am–4 pm, Monday–Friday.


The MCA tells stories about the museum’s exhibitions, programs, and history in many ways and through various media, both print and digital. This section of the site indexes our publications and productions, and invites you to explore them.

A vintage video still shows a busy art gallery filled with people looking at artworks and talking with one another.

Video Still


Teen Creative Agency

The Teen Creative Agency (TCA) is the MCA's cultural leadership program for Chicago teens who come together from all over the city and use contemporary art and the museum to create, dream, envision, and transform ideas and responses around issues that are important to them. Members meet weekly to increase their agency and collaboration skills, build community, and develop creative projects and public events. Teens are also provided with a monthly stipend to cover transportation costs.

Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute (T.I.) is the museum's most immersive and collaborative professional development program for educators. The design of this free, yearlong program is aimed at helping educators investigate, design, incubate, and implement innovative contemporary curriculum. The emphasis of the Teacher Institute is on supporting teachers in developing student-centered projects that give students an active role in the development, implementation, and documentation of socially engaged curricula. Educators receive ISBE professional development credit as well as a stipend.

More Information

For more information on Learning programs and applications, email Ahmad Bracey at [email protected].


Major support for Learning Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, Jana Hees, and an anonymous donor.

Additional generous support is provided by the Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation, Friends of Edwin A. Bergman Fund, the Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, Diane Kahan, The Marshall Frankel Foundation, D. Elizabeth Price and Lou Yecies, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund, and The William Randolph Hearst Foundations.