School Tours Overview Page

Skinner West Elementary 5th grade school tour,
April 29, 2014, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Photo: Joshua Longbrake, © MCA Chicago

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Teaching artists lead all school programs. Through interactive dialogue and artistic practice, students and artist guides explore, debate, and reflect upon the important ideas that lie at the heart of contemporary art.

Tours support Common Core ELA Standards, and Illinois Learning Standards in the Fine Arts, Language Arts, and Social Sciences.

All school programs for grades 1–12 are FREE for Illinois schools and nonprofit organizations. Chicago Public Schools are also eligible for free busing. Each student receives a free pass for a return visit.

For adult and college/university groups and all out-of-state schools, please contact 312.397.3898 to schedule a tour for a fee.

Registration Calendar

Registration for fall programs (Oct–Dec) begins Sep 1.

Registration for winter/spring programs (Jan–May) begins Dec 1.

We recommend that you book early as we cannot guarantee a reservation for every request.

To ensure an equitable distribution of MCA resources, we ask that schools book no more than 5 tours and/or Creation Labs per registration period.

Artist-Led Tour

Grades 1–12

Dialogue based tour focusing on current exhibitions on view at the MCA. Tours are offered at 10 am and 11 am: Tuesday through Friday. Each 50 minute tour is typically available for a maximum of 35 students.

Click here to book.

Creation Lab

Grades 3–12

Dialogue based tour focusing on current exhibitions on view at the MCA with an interactive studio workshop component. This is a 2 hour experience. Tours are offered from 10 am to 12noon: Tuesday–Friday, for up to 30 students.

Click here to book.

Self-Guided Tour

Grades 9–12

Self-guided tours are available year-round, after 12pm during the school year (Sept-June), and after 10am during the summer.

Click here to book.


You must provide one responsible chaperone for every 10 students. Designated chaperones must be at least 21 years old and remain with the students at all times. The MCA reserves the right to refuse admission to any group that does not meet the minimum chaperone requirement.


Transportation for Chicago Public Schools is free, pending availability. The MCA makes all arrangements for busing on the school’s behalf. All other schools must arrange for their own transportation.

Once booking is complete, please see your confirmation email for the bus schedule pick up and departure time(s) from the MCA.


In the event of a cancellation, you must notify the Program Coordinator via email at least 48 hours in advance. Failure to do so may result in a bus charge to your school if you are receiving a bus provided by the MCA.

Special needs and students with disabilities

The MCA is fully wheelchair accessible and provides wheelchairs for visitors who need them. If members of your group have behavioral or developmental disabilities, please specify the academic level of your students so we can provide the best possible experience for your group. Interpreters for the hearing impaired are available, pending availability. Please contact the Program Coordinator via email.

Questions? Email us at:


Support for school programs is generously provided by The Efroymson Family Fund; Reyes Holdings, LLC.; The Crown Family; Bank of America Charitable Foundation; the Helen Brach Foundation; Northern Trust Charitable Trust; and The Siragusa Foundation. Major ongoing support is provided by the Cari and Michael J. Sacks Fund for Chicago Public Schools.