The MCA Chicago Library and Archives is a noncirculating, appointment-only, research-based library specializing in contemporary art.


The mission of the MCA Chicago Library and Archives is to preserve and make accessible the MCA’s institutional history and to support the research and scholarship of the MCA’s staff, interns, volunteers, and external researchers by providing access to exceptional contemporary art research collections.


The Library and Archives’ main collection includes monographs, exhibition catalogues, and periodicals about modern and contemporary art and related topics such as art criticism, dance, and music. The main collection has been developed to inform and reflect the MCA’s permanent collection, exhibitions, and programming. While the main collection covers art and artists from around the world, there is an emphasis on Chicago art and artists.

The Library and Archives is also the repository of the MCA’s historical record. The MCA’s archives consist of primary documents created by the MCA and directly related to the history, programming, and activities of the museum. These items include, but are not limited to, correspondence, ephemera, publications, video recordings, audio recordings, and images. Collections include the MCA Exhibition Records, the MCA Publication Archives, and the Jan van der Marck Papers.

These collections are searchable through the Library and Archives’ catalogue: