The Art Institute of Chicago
1955-1977: Expansion Mid-Century

New Aquisitions

Building Alterations


The material shortages that followed World War II brought a halt to the Art Institute's building additions. Changes began modestly in the 1950s with interior reconstructions, creating spaces to accommodate new curatorial departments. The growth of the professional staff led to the completion of the first major new structure in more than 20 years: the B. F. Ferguson Memorial Building. This addition is situated to the north of the original structure, which was named after long-time trustee Robert Allerton in 1968. The Morton Wing, erected in 1962, to the south of the Allerton Building, was designed to house the expanding modern art collection and restore symmetry to the complex. Mrs. Stanley McCormick's gift of gardens in front of both the Ferguson and Morton additions linked the Art Institute to surrounding parks.

The 1970s saw a sharp increase in both the number of art students and the number of visitors to museums. This trend generated the Rubloff Building to provide new studios, classrooms, and a film center for the school, and new public spaces for the museum.