The museum was constructed on the remains of Chicago Fire and had a huge collection of artistic works of varied kinds. The institute's name was changed in the year 1882 and very soon the venue was shifted to its present location because the collections were expanding. At present, the collections at the museum include Asian, American, African, arms and armor, prints and drawings, contemporary, European painting and sculpture, European decorative art and textile works.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago taught architectural design and classical fine art in the initial years.After the Second World War, the enrolment at the institute increased and new artistic methods were taught at the school. The school offers undergraduate and post-baccalaureate degrees and certificates in liberal arts, fashion design, photography, art education, painting and drawing, film and video, ceramics, interior architecture, art therapy, art history, printmaking and visual communications.