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These 6 Chicago Museums Are Offering Free Entry On Juneteenth Holiday

Recognised as a federal and state holiday, Juneteenth features numerous events and free museum admissions throughout the city.

Field Museum, Chicago
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As Chicago celebrates Juneteenth today, residents and visitors will find various public services, such as libraries, post offices, and banks, closed in observance of the holiday. However, many of the city’s museums are open, and some are offering free admission to mark the occasion.

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Recognised as a federal holiday and a state holiday in Illinois since 2021, Juneteenth is celebrated with gatherings, cookouts, and educational events.

One highlight of the day is the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Centre, located at 740 E. 56th Place. Starting at 10 am, the free event will feature live performances, food, family-friendly activities, and more, wrapping up at 8:30 pm.

The Field Museum is also offering free admission to Illinois residents. "On June 19, the museum will be free to Illinois residents in celebration of Juneteenth," the museum announced. Visitors will be welcomed by Pride and Juneteenth flags, symbolising inclusivity. Free tickets cannot be reserved in advance, and regular Wednesday free admission will continue for Illinois residents throughout the year.

Here’s a look at the hours and special admissions for other Chicago museums on Juneteenth:

  • Art Institute Chicago: Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, including Juneteenth. The next free days for Illinois residents are Thursday evenings from 5 pm to 8 pm, June 6 through September 26. Free admission is always available for Illinois Pre-K–12 teachers, active-duty military, children under 14, and Chicago teens.

  • Adler Planetarium: Open on Wednesday and free for Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 4 pm to 10 pm. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. The Planetarium offers free admission for Illinois teachers year-round.

  • Chicago Botanic Garden: Open on Juneteenth with free admission. Additional free days for 2024 include July 9 and 11, August 6 and 8, and several dates in the fall and winter.

  • Chicago History Museum: Open with free admission for Illinois residents on Juneteenth. Upcoming free days include June 23, 26, and 29, July 4 and 17, and August 28. 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: Open on Juneteenth, with free admission for Illinois residents. A full list of additional free days for 2024 is available on their website.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art: Open for regular hours and standard admission. The museum offers free admission every day to Illinois elementary and high school teachers and to all Illinois residents every Tuesday. Visitors under 18 always enter for free, and a pay-what-you-can policy is available.

  • Shedd Aquarium: Open on Juneteenth from 9 am with standard admission. A sold-out ticketed event will take place from 5-10 pm. The next free admission evening for Illinois residents is Tuesday, June 25.

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