Illinois elementary and high school teachers receive free admission to the MCA. Simply present a valid teacher ID at the admissions desk. Can’t carry your ID with you? Email us to request a teacher pass.

Sign up for our educator email list to be the first to hear about opportunities at the MCA for teachers and students. Questions about any of our programs for teachers? Email us.

For Teachers

People making a structure with tape and long beams of wood

Teachers designed a communal space for learning with artist Faheem Majeed during a Teacher Institute

Photo: Gillian Fry © MCA Chicago
A group of adults, arms outstretched, participate a group activity.

Teachers partake in an exercise during a teacher workshop

Photo: Gillian Fry © MCA Chicago

Brainstorming during a Teacher Institute workshop

Photo: Gillian Fry © MCA Chicago

Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 3, 2016. Installation view of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
People sit on the ground in an open-air structure made of long wooden beams and tape

Participants in our Summer Teacher Institute gather underneath a structure they built during a workshop with artist Faheem Majeed

Photo: Gillian Fry © MCA Chicago

Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute is the museum’s professional development programs for classroom educators. The design of these free, year-long programs are aimed at helping you investigate, design, incubate, and implement innovative, contemporary curriculum.

Learning Series

Registration based. Free and open to all.

Seasonal, high-quality professional development open to all teachers, offering skills-based training on contemporary art integration and educator-specific programs designed in connection with the cultural assets of the MCA (exhibitions, exhibiting artists, public programs, and performances). To hear about upcoming Learning Series programs, sign up for our educator email list.


Application based.

A year-long partnership with 5 classroom teachers. These Teachers-in-Residence at the MCA attend monthly collaboration sessions with the other Teachers-in-Residence, and work closely with MCA staff and mentors to develop new curricula for contemporary arts integration to be used in the classroom and museum.

Curriculum Database

An archive of teaching materials developed by members of the Teacher Institute to use as inspiration and application back in your classroom.

Teacher Advisory Committee

A community of classroom teachers who meet quarterly to advise the MCA Learning team on school and teacher programs and matters of interest to the larger school community.

Current members of the Teacher Advisory Committee:

  • Andrew Breen
  • Bridget Doherty-Trebing
  • Lindsay Johnson
  • Lisa Wax
  • Rhavin Haynes
  • Marcia La Porte
  • Marina Lopez
  • Kristal Pacheco
  • Zachary Wisser

Teacher Resources and Guides

We currently create robust teacher guides in conjunction with our Tour Video (TV) series. Those can be found on our Learning Resources page. To view lesson plans created by participants in our Teacher Institute, check out the curriculum database associated with that program.

Multiple Visit Program

Currently on hiatus, the MCA’s Multiple Visit Program brings the Common Core to life by offering teachers and students a chance to debate, discuss, and connect to works of art through return visits to the museum and provides professional development for teachers. Designed in alignment with Common Core English Language Arts Standards, this program uses contemporary art and ideas to sharpen students’ critical thinking skills so that they engage in collaborative dialogue and inquiry.

Contact & Registration

Immersive professional development programs invite teachers to use the MCA as their studio, laboratory, library, and classroom.

Teaching artists design and lead Teacher Tours to help educators investigate works of art in the galleries, make art, and connect their experiences back to the classroom.
Educator Salons tackle timely issues through open exchange among peers, colleagues, and speakers.

Participants receive CPDUs. Vouchers for free parking in the MCA garage are provided pending availability.

Contact us at [email protected] or sign up for our educator email list to be the first to hear about opportunities at the MCA for teachers and students.

Teacher Mailing List Sign Up

Complete this form to keep in touch and hear about the MCA's programs for educators.

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Support for teacher programs at the MCA is generously provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional generous support is provided by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Crown Family, and Discover.

Major support for the Teacher Institute is provided by the Fry Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Generous support for school programs is provided by Anne and Chris Reyes; The Crown Family; GCM Grosvenor; Peoples Gas Community Fund; Andrea and Jim Gordon, The Edgewater Funds; Aon; Ariel Investments; the Harris Family Foundation; Illinois Tool Works; JHL Capital Group, LLC; Katten Muchin Rosenman; Graff; Northern Trust; William Blair Company; the Helen Brach Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

Terra Foundation for American Art logo.