Skip to Content

Open today 10–11 a.m. members | 11 a.m.–6 p.m. public. Learn more.

Detail image of man with grey hair sitting on a hill surrounded by classical columns, 1930.500 Detail image of man with grey hair sitting on a hill surrounded by classical columns, 1930.500



The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are open by appointment for onsite, in-person research. The Libraries constitute a major art and architecture research collection serving the museum and the public in the fields of art and architectural history.

Two books from the special collection of the Library are displayed for visitors.


The Art Institute’s Research Center brings together the divisions of Academic Engagement and Research, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives to expand access to the museum’s rich educational and research offerings.

The Research Center’s Franke Reading Room is a shared space in which researchers can consult the collections of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives. The Franke Reading Room is located just south of the Grand Staircase inside the Michigan Avenue entrance to the museum. Appointments for onsite, in-person research are now available in the Franke Reading Room.


The reading room is currently open for onsite, in-person research, but please note that access is available by advance appointment only; walk-in appointments are not possible. 

Archival research appointments for the public are available Thursdays and Fridays,10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m, and may be requested using this form

Library research appointments for the public are available Thursdays and Fridays, 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., and may be requested using this form.

Information regarding appointment availability and procedures for museum and SAIC staff is available here. SAIC students should use the public appointment links above to arrange for access.

Reading room capacity is currently limited to ten (10) researchers per session. Research appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and will be confirmed via email by Research Center staff. 

Researchers must complete a pre-registration process and submit their request for materials four (4) business days prior to arrival on-site. Information regarding this process will be provided to researchers along with their appointment confirmation. If these steps are not completed 4 days in advance of the requested date and time, appointments will be canceled.

Researchers agree to follow the museum’s safety and security guidelines in addition to established reading room policies.


The reading room is open to Art Institute of Chicago staff and SAIC faculty by appointment. Please visit our intranet page to learn more about reading room access and research services for Art Institute staff and faculty.


Researchers must wear a mask for the duration of their research appointments.

Please do not move reading room chairs, and please keep a six-foot distance from Research Center staff and other researchers.

Please cancel your appointment if you are feeling ill or exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms. Appointments may be cancelled by emailing or or by calling (312) 443-3666. Research Center staff will work with you to reschedule your appointment as quickly as possible.

Visitors from outside Chicago are subject to the policies and procedures outlined in the City of Chicago’s travel advisory.

Search the Online Catalog


You can learn more about the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries and our collections on our social media accounts:





Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions