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SAIC Access to the Franke Reading Room: Reader Services

How to access the Franke Reading Room to consult the collections of the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives

Welcome to the Research Center

The 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 research offerings. 

Student Research Hours


Students are welcome to research with us on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Access is available by appointment only; walk-ins are not possible.

  • Reading room capacity is limited. 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 requests for materials a minimum of one week prior to the appointment. Instructions are provided with the appointment confirmation. If these steps are not completed one week prior to your visit the reservation will be canceled. 

  • Researchers agree to follow the museum’s visit guidelines in addition to reading room policies, please review the tab What to Expect When You Visit.

  • Archival researchers should review the Archives access guidelines and procedures before their appointment.

Faculty and Staff Research Hours

SAIC faculty and staff are welcome to research with us on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Access is available by appointment only; walk-ins are not possible.

 Make an Appointment


Research Center Remote Resources and Services

Remote Reference Service

You can reach librarians and archivists on the telephone during research hours by calling (312) 443-3666.

Email for reference assistance with the archival collections or email for reference assistance with the library collections. The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives have a small staff that answers a large volume of inquiries from researchers around the world. You should receive an initial response to your email within six (6) weeks. 

We recommend that you consult our research guides and discovery tools in order to make your questions as precise as possible. Our reference services are primarily intended to support researchers who require access to our specialized and unique collections. We are unable to provide in-depth research assistance to remote researchers, and encourage you to make an appointment to consult the materials in our collections.

Digital Resources from the Art Institute of Chicago

Digital Resources from the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives: Digital Collections
  • Finding Aids: Finding aids are inventories or indices that describe the contents and context of an archival collection and are the primary method of accessing information about any given group of records.
  • Images and Media: Catalog of electronic surrogates of selected original archival materials from the Ryerson & Burnham Archives collections. Materials may include photographs, slides, architectural drawings and prints, correspondence, and printed papers.
  • Oral Histories: Browse over 250 artists and architect oral histories.

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.

Search the Libraries

Search the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries

Input a keyword into the box and click Search to begin searching the online library catalog.

Search the Art and Architecture Archives

Search the Ryerson and Burnham Art and Architecture Archives

Input a keyword into the search box and then click Search to search through the archival collections.

Unfortunately, resources in the Institutional Archives, including the Imaging Archive, are not yet searchable here; please visit this page for more information.


Contact Us

Ryerson & Burnham Libraries

For information on the museum collections, library collections, and library services, please contact Library staff at


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