New policies and procedures are in place to provide access to the Research Center collections. This page provides information on how to request an appointment in the reading room to view items in the Libraries' and Archives' collections that cannot circulate. Visit the tabs above for information on our reading room hours; to learn more about the access and services available to you; to review our circulation policy; for information on stacks access; for instructions on how to request library materials; to view our FAQs; and to learn more about access and services in the Archives.
The Franke Reading Room is open to all Art Institute of Chicago staff to pick up pre-requested circulating materials, work with the open shelf reference collection or items on staff reserve, use scanning equipment, return materials or use the reading room as a quiet work space -- no appointment necessary -- during the following hours: Mondays through Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Advance appointments are needed to view materials from our non-circulating collections. Accessioned objects, special collections materials, archives, artist files, and other restricted materials, can only be accessed in the reading room with an appointment.
NONCIRCULATING MATERIALS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Special collections items, accessioned items, and archives do not circulate outside the reading room. Museum staff may make research appointments to view restricted materials from the Ryerson and Burnham special collections on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (for staff exclusively), and Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (staff and public appointments).
Reserve a Library special collections appointment time here:
Sign into the online catalog and request the materials you would like to consult during your appointment a minimum of four business days prior to the appointment date.
Archival research appointments for museum staff are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (for staff exclusively), and Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (staff and public appointments). To request an Archives research appointment, please complete this form.
Appointments are for viewing and scanning specifically-requested materials only. Reference staff will be on hand to assist you with questions, but we are not able to retrieve materials from the stacks outside of our dedicated paging shifts.
Come to the reading room on the date and time of your requested appointment. The reading room doors opposite the grand staircase on the first floor are open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the museum is closed to the public; at other times, we ask that you please use the spiral staircase or the elevator from the ground floor in order to access the space. Your materials will be available on a reading room table with any book supports and other materials necessary for you to handle the materials safely. You are welcome to bring your camera in order to take study images of the materials or to use the overhead scanner in the reading room to make scans of general collection materials. Special collection materials and materials in fragile condition should not be scanned; Research Center staff will be available to assist you with handling these. Please consult with the librarian or archivist on duty about how to obtain scans of these materials.
Coats, large bags, pens, and food and drink are not permitted in the reading room, and these items will need to be stored in your office prior to your visit to the reading room. We ask that you please wash your hands prior to handling Research Center materials.
Library or archives staff will be available to assist with your questions.
Input a keyword into the box and click Search to begin searching the online library catalog.
Online catalogs and databases maintained by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives:
Make requests for materials that are not owned by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries:
Find library information:
A list of online guides and bibliographies developed by Ryerson & Burnham librarians to assist research on a variety of art historical and architectural topics, including provenance research, building history, appraisal and preservation resources, Chicago neighborhood research, and the history of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Digital collection catalogs available freely online. Catalogs offer detailed art historical context, provenance history, and scientific analysis of artworks in the Art Institute of Chicago's collections.
Ryerson & Burnham Libraries
email@example.com: for reference assistance, library orientation information, questions on interlibrary loan, and questions on library access and services. The following staff can also assist with these types of questions:
Aaron Rutt (x3-3936)
Jenn Smith (x7-7103)
firstname.lastname@example.org: for questions on circulation, offsite materials, bulk returns, and scanning requests. The following staff can also assist with these types of questions:
Abby Adams (x3-3667)
The Art Institute of Chicago Archives
For information on our collections, the history of the Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute, donation proposals, corrections, comments, and general questions, please contact Archives staff at email@example.com.