FAQs

Health and Safety in Our Community

We’ve made a lot of updates to our safety practices and look forward to welcoming you back (or welcoming you for the first time!)

To ensure all social distancing requirements can be met and maintained, we encourage visitors to note the occupancy signs posted outside each room before entering.

Admission

Your admission fee supports our exhibitions and programs, but we believe art should be accessible to everyone. The MCA has a pay-what-you-can policy—no one will be turned away. We also offer $3 tickets for up to six individuals when visitors present their LINK {bio: (EBT) Card as part of the Museums for All program.

  • We offer free admission to:
  • Anyone 18 and under
  • Members of the police and fire departments, active military, veterans, and accompanying family members
  • Students and faculty at Columbia College, IIT, Harold Washington, Harry Truman, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, Northwestern University, Olive Harvey, Richard Daley, SAIC, the University of Chicago, and Wilbur Wright
  • Caretakers for the elderly and people with disabilities
  • MCA Members
  • Call us at 312-280-2660} to learn more about our other special offers and partnerships with universities, corporations, and other organizations that include free admission.

If you plan to visit the museum with 10 or more people, you qualify for our advance admission prices of $7 for students and seniors and $13 for adults. The advance price is for self-guided groups only. We recommend that you book your visit at least two weeks in advance by calling the Box Office at 312-397-4010. We also encourage any university partners who qualify for free admission to call the Box Office.

Please note that all guided tours are currently canceled due to safety precautions, to learn more, visit our Safety page. For information regarding private tours or school tours, check out our Tours page.

Every Tuesday, year-round, Illinois residents enjoy free admission. On any other day of the week, other than Mondays when we are closed, our suggested admission is $15 for adults and $8 for students, seniors over 65, and teachers. Of course, MCA Members are always free!

Suggested admission means that you pay what you can; no one is turned away. For more information on admission, check out our Visit page; for information on the benefits of becoming member, visit our Membership page.

Yes! General admission tickets are timed so that we can monitor occupancy. You can purchase them online.

The MCA participates in three reciprocal museum programs:

  • Museum Alliance Reciprocal Program, (MARP), managed by the Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Western Reciprocal Program (WR), managed by the Denver Art Museum
  • The Modern and Contemporary Reciprocal Program (Mod/Co), managed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • To see if your museum is a part of one of these programs, visit our Reciprocal Privileges page. MCA Members at the Friend-level and above also gain access to these benefits.

We accept credit cards, debit cards, and cash at our admissions desk and in the store.

No! Please enter through our first floor entrance on Pearson Street, check in at Box Office, and then head to the MCA Store. Checking in at the Box Office allows us to manage capacity, so thank you!

Visiting the Museum

Our parking garage is located behind the museum with an entrance on East Chicago Avenue. For parking information and prices, visit our Directions and Parking page. Museum visitors must have their parking tickets validated at the Admission desk, Box Office, or coat check to receive a discount. MCA Members receive a $5 discount on standard parking rates; non-members receive a $4 discount. For performances, all MCA Stage ticket buyers enjoy $13 MCA garage parking, with validation, for up to 6 hours on the date of show.*

*This is for ticketed performances and talks only. It is not valid for special events or museum admission.

We sure do! Take a look at our digital map that’s available for download!

Yes! Please use our complimentary coat check. For the safety of the artwork, large bags, food and drinks are not allowed inside the galleries. Backpacks are also required to be checked or worn on your front.

Of course!

Short answer: It depends, but most visitors spend between 1–3 hours in the galleries.

Long answer: Visits to the museum can vary in length based on a variety of factors, including which exhibitions are currently on display, what interests you, and how much time you spend with the artworks. Your museum admission guarantees you access to the museum’s spaces for the entire day, so feel free to spend as much time here as you would like. You are also more than welcome to come and go as you please, just make sure to save your receipt and admission tab.

Yes, non-flash photography is allowed, however, from time to time there may be certain works that cannot be photographed. These works will be clearly labeled. If you have questions about a specific artwork, don’t hesitate to ask one of our Visitor Services Associates. No tripods, video equipment, or selfie sticks are allowed in the galleries. Additionally, we would appreciate your consideration of other MCA visitors by taking photographs/videos in an unobtrusive manner.

Photo Policy

Photography and videography, both livestreamed and recorded, are allowed in the MCA, unless otherwise indicated in the galleries. Due to copyright laws pertaining to all of the artworks on display, photographs/videos are to be used for your personal use only. If the images are used for any other purpose, such as printed or commercial use, you must contact us first.


Of course! Pencils and paper are always welcome; however, pens are not permitted in the galleries because of the difficulty of removing ink from artworks.

The material produced varies for each exhibition. Please call ahead, ask a Visitor Services staff member, or visit our Stories page if you are looking for information on a particular exhibition.

The MCA does not offer traditional audio guides, but we do have audio experiences available for some exhibitions. You can experience the full archive of audio recordings—including concerts, readings, talks, interviews, and tours—on our Audio page.

The MCA is proud to offer free public Wi-Fi for anyone visiting the museum.

While you are free to breastfeed in any non-gallery space, feel free to use the Quiet Space for more privacy.

Please email [email protected]. Let us know your name, phone number, a description of the item you lost, and approximately when/where you lost it at the MCA. We’ll respond once we have looked for your item, regardless of whether we find it or not.

We are open till 9pm on Tuesday nights.

What’s on View

The MCA features artworks in every medium—painting, photography, sculpture, installation, film, performance, and interdisciplinary projects. Our collection includes works made after 1945 and spans art movements such as surrealism, pop, minimalism, conceptualism, and postmodernism.

Our collection consists of more than 2,500 artworks. We don’t have a space designated for our permanent collection because we like to have something new to see every couple of months or so. Instead, we draw on the collection to present thematic, collection-based shows. See our entire collection online or check out what’s on view in our current exhibitions.

Contemporary art is a loose designation for art made since the 1960s. It encompasses many strains in global art practice including movements such as minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, video art, performance art, and new media. Contemporary artists present ideas and images relating to the world we live in.

Accessibility

Yes! We strive to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for all our visitors. You might find it helpful to plan your visit by reviewing our accommodations before your trip.

We also provide wheelchairs free of charge for your visit. Supplies are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call Visitor Services at 312-280-2660 to check availability. Accessible restrooms with baby-changing stations are located on the first floor.

Please don’t hesitate to ask our Visitor Service Associates if you feel lost during your visit!

Yes, we have glasses that will "color your world"! In partnership with EnChroma, the MCA offers the first specialty eyewear that alleviates red-green color blindness. You can check out a pair at our admissions desk.

The MCA has redesigned its website not only to provide expanded coverage of MCA exhibitions, collections, and events, as well as a broad spectrum of stories about our extended community of artists, audiences, and partnering organizations, but to increase the accessibility of these resources. In addition to a user-friendly interface, the MCA has collaborated with accessibility expert Sina Bahram to create Coyote, a groundbreaking program that offers visually impaired and blind visitors greater access to the visual arts through visual descriptions.

Yes! We offer accessible all-gender restrooms on the second floor of the museum, located in the Commons.

Yes! We offer $16 flat rate parking in our garage for those who use accessible parking. Stop by the admissions desk and ask for our accessible parking validation.

Service animals are permitted inside the MCA. Service animals are working animals; pets are not allowed.

Service animals are trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of normal living. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as "any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items." Service animals must be on a leash and under their master’s control at all times.

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are therefore not allowed inside the MCA.

Quiet Space

The Quiet Space is a small, private room for visitors to use for a moment of quiet, meditation, prayer, or breastfeeding.

No! The Quiet Space is welcome to all visitors regardless of faith, or need for the space. If you would like to use the space, let a Visitor Service associate know and they’ll give you a key!

Most visitors use it for less than 30 minutes, but if you need it for longer, please let a Visitor Experience associate know. Please note that the space will receive a cleaning after every use, so it may be closed when you want to use it. Just ask a Visitor Service associate for access.

You can find the Quiet Space on the first floor of the museum, near the Griffin Entrance. Ask a Visitor Service associate for the key!

Miscellaneous

The MCA loves recycling! Look for the recycle symbol at the bins throughout the museum.

Fill out our rentals form for specific information about the type of event you want to host or learn more about the spaces and types of events we host on our Rentals at the MCA page..

Our curators plan our exhibitions years in advance. Before an exhibition can be added to the museum’s exhibition schedule, the curators propose projects, which gets discussed and vetted by the team. Because of this, the MCA curators are constantly out looking at art around the city, the country, and the world, in search of works that stand out for their originality and relevance to our current conditions.

While the MCA does not accept submissions of artworks, if you would like to call our attention to a particular exhibition, please feel free to send a card to the curatorial department.

Of course! Just submit your email so we can include you on all the latest MCA news.

If you would like to request a donation, please fill out this form and someone from the museum will follow up with you regarding your request.

You can learn about volunteering opportunities or explore open positions on our website.