People making a structure with tape and long beams of wood
Teachers designed a communal space for learning with artist Faheem Majeed during a Teacher Institute
Photo: Gillian Fry, © MCA Chicago

For Teachers

Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute is the museum’s professional development programs for classroom educators. The design of these free, year-long programs are aimed at helping you investigate, design, incubate, and implement innovative, contemporary curriculum.

Learning Series

Registration based. Free and open to all.

Seasonal, high-quality professional development open to all teachers, offering skills-based training on contemporary art integration and educator-specific programs designed in connection with the cultural assets of the MCA (exhibitions, exhibiting artists, public programs, and performances). To hear about upcoming Learning Series programs, sign up for our educator email list.


Application based.

A year-long partnership with 5 classroom teachers. These Teachers-in-Residence at the MCA attend monthly collaboration sessions with the other Teachers-in-Residence, and work closely with MCA staff and mentors to develop new curricula for contemporary arts integration to be used in the classroom and museum.

Curriculum Database

An archive of teaching materials developed by members of the Teacher Institute to use as inspiration and application back in your classroom.

Teacher Advisory Committee

A community of classroom teachers who meet quarterly to advise the MCA Learning team on school and teacher programs and matters of interest to the larger school community.

Current members of the Teacher Advisory Committee:

  • Andrew Breen
  • Bridget Doherty-Trebing
  • Lindsay Johnson
  • Lisa Wax
  • Rhavin Haynes
  • Marcia La Porte
  • Marina Lopez
  • Kristal Pacheco
  • Zachary Wisser

Teacher Resources and Guides

We currently create robust teacher guides in conjunction with our Tour Video (TV) series. Those can be found on our Learning Resources page. To view lesson plans created by participants in our Teacher Institute, check out the curriculum database associated with that program.

Multiple Visit Program

Currently on hiatus, the MCA’s Multiple Visit Program brings the Common Core to life by offering teachers and students a chance to debate, discuss, and connect to works of art through return visits to the museum and provides professional development for teachers. Designed in alignment with Common Core English Language Arts Standards, this program uses contemporary art and ideas to sharpen students’ critical thinking skills so that they engage in collaborative dialogue and inquiry.

Teachers Info

Illinois elementary and high school teachers receive free admission to the MCA. Simply present a valid teacher ID at the admissions desk. Can’t carry your ID with you? Email us to request a teacher pass.

Sign up for our educator email list to be the first to hear about opportunities at the MCA for teachers and students. Questions about any of our programs for teachers? Email us.


Immersive professional development programs invite teachers to use the MCA as their studio, laboratory, library, and classroom.


Complete this form to keep in touch and hear about the MCA’s programs for educators.



Support for teacher programs at the MCA is generously provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional generous support is provided by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Crown Family, and Discover.

Major support for the Teacher Institute is provided by the Fry Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Generous support for school programs is provided by Anne and Chris Reyes; The Crown Family; GCM Grosvenor; Peoples Gas Community Fund; Andrea and Jim Gordon, The Edgewater Funds; Aon; Ariel Investments; the Harris Family Foundation; Illinois Tool Works; JHL Capital Group, LLC; Katten Muchin Rosenman; Graff; Northern Trust; William Blair & Company; the Helen Brach Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.