Mission & History

Inspiring and enriching our community through art, education, and architecture programming.

The Elmhurst Art Museum was established and granted 501c(3) status in 1997.


The Museum is dedicated to the development of rotating contemporary art exhibitions by regional artists, ongoing educational programs that are available at no cost to interested groups, schools and individuals, and the celebration and preservation of a rare single-family home designed by Mies van der Rohe. The galleries, Education Center, and the McCormick House, are complementary, working together to enrich thousands of lives annually by deepening knowledge of art, architecture and design, increasing understanding of the relevance of visual art in our times, and sparking the development of individual creativity through innovative programming.


In 1981 a group of teachers, artists and community organizers, established the Elmhurst Art Museum with the belief that people from all walks of life can learn to see and think differently through meaningful participation in the arts. With initial focus on exhibiting and collecting works of primarily local artists, the Museum significantly expanded to feature nationally and internationally recognized artists.

In 1992, led by artist and educator Eleanor King Hookham, the Foundation purchased the unique Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House (1952), a private home in Elmhurst. With an ambitious and unprecedented undertaking, the house was moved from its location to the Elmhurst Art Museum Campus. The Museum commissioned Chicago-based architectural firm DeStefano + Partners to design a new building incorporating this unique architectural component with substantial exhibition, education, public and administrative spaces.

A new facility opened to the public in 1997 with 15,000+ square feet of exhibition and education space. Today, the Museum provides access to world-class exhibitions, the unique home by Mies van der Rohe, and an Education Center that serves the residents of Elmhurst and the surrounding communities.