6 Chicago museums to offer free days on Juneteenth

Most Chicago area museums are open on the Juneteenth holiday Wednesday -- and some are even offering free admission

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While Chicago libraries, post offices and banks are closed on Wednesday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday, other attractions, like museums will be open -- and some are even offering free admission.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It takes place each year on June 19, which for 2024 falls on a Wednesday.

Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday. It is also a state holiday, with Pritzker signing the declaration naming it so in 2021. Juneteenth festivities are rooted in cookouts and large gatherings, and at least one Chicago museum is hosting a gathering to celebrate.

The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, located at 740 E. 56th Place, will host their annual Juneteenth Celebration beginning at 10 a.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, features live performances, food, family-friendly activities and more.

According to organizers, the event ends at 8:30 p.m.

Chicago's Field Museum will also offer free entry Wednesday.

"On June 19, the Museum will be free to Illinois residents in celebration of Juneteenth," the museum said in a post. "The Pride and Juneteenth flags will greet you as a reminder that the Field is welcome to all."

According to the museum, tickets for free days cannot be reserved in advanced. Through the rest of the year, the Field Museum is free to Illinois residents every Wednesday.

As Wednesday approaches, here's a look at the hours of other Chicago museums on Juneteenth

Art Institute Chicago

The Art Institute Chicago is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which means the museum will be closed on the Juneteenth Holiday.

The next free days for the Art Institute Chicago are Thursdays.

Illinois residents can visit the Art Institute Chicago for free on Thursday evenings between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., June 6 through Sept. 26.

According to the Art Institute website, free tickets can be reserved in advance. Parking fees may apply.

Admission for Illinois Pre-K–12 teachers, teaching artists working in schools, and homeschool parents is always free, the museum said. Admission is also free for active-duty members, kids under 14 and Chicago teens.

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is open on Wednesday.

The Adler is also free to Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

According to the museum, the Planetarium is always free for Illinois teachers.

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Gardens, located in suburban Glencoe, is open on Juneteenth, and is offering free admission. Below are other free museum days coming up at the garden through the end of 2024.

June: 19

July: 9, 11

August: 6, 8

September: 10, 12

October: 1, 2, 14

November: 4-8, 11, 12

December: 9-15

More information can be found here.

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum will be open on the Juneteenth holiday and offer free admission to Illinois residents Wednesday.

Below is a list of other free days for residents coming up at the museum:

June: 19, 23, 26, 29

July: 4, 17

August: 28

According to officials, the museum is always free for active duty Chicago police and firefighters, Illinois teachers, residents under 18 and all children under 12.

Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

The Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, formerly known as the Museum of Science and Industry, will be open on Juneteenth. It will also offer free admission to Illinois residents that day.

The museum has a number of other free days coming up for 2024. You can find a full list here.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art will be open Wednesday for regular operating hours and standard admission.

The MCA offers free admission everyday to Illinois elementary and high school teachers. It also offers free admission to all Illinois residents every Tuesday.

Additionally, the MCA is always free for visitors under 18, and has a pay-what-you-can policy.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is open on Juneteenth starting at 9 a.m. A sold-out ticketed event will also be held at the aquarium from 5-10 p.m. Admission for the daytime hours is standard.

The next time Illinois residents can visit the Shedd for free is the evening of Tuesday, June 25.

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