Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” When pursuing individual interests and passions, lifelong learning helps achieve personal fulfillment and satisfaction. We all have a natural drive to explore, learn and grow and lifelong learning encourages us to improve our own quality of life and sense of self-worth by exploring and nurturing the ideas and goals that inspire us.
Steeped in history, culture, and higher education institutions, Chicago is an ideal city to pursue lifelong learning. There are myriad paths to spark your imagination and satiate your desire to grow.
Chicago museums are an ongoing source of learning. The Museum of Science and Industry offers exhibits that range from engineering and technology to history and space. Chicago boasts one of the largest natural history museums in the world with The Field Museum. If you’re a history buff, the Chicago History Museum is well worth a visit. The DuSable Museum of African American History was developed to preserve and interpret the experiences and achievements of people of African descent. The Adler Planetarium is America’s first planetarium and is dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics.
The city of Chicago is brimming with places to enjoy art. In addition to permanent and changing collections, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago offers workshops for all ages and interests. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to thousands of global artworks and offers a wide sampling of periods and styles. In-person and virtual events, classes and workshops are regularly scheduled. The National Museum of Mexican Art boasts a 10,000-piece permanent collection showcasing 3,000 years of creativity from both sides of the border.
Enjoy the many avenues to listen to, learn about and make music in Chicago. The Lyric Opera of Chicago offers some of the world’s finest performers and productions. Attend free talks before each performance hosted by an opera expert. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a widely respected group with frequently sold-out performances and offers complimentary preconcert conversations with leading musical experts. Chicago is home to a wide variety of live music venues. No matter what your personal tastes, you’re sure to find one that suits you. And if you want to learn a new musical instrument, consider taking an adult music class.
For traditional college and university classes, look into Chicago’s finest institutes of higher learning. Northwestern University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosts more than 100 study groups for older adults. The Gleacher Center at the University of Chicago offers non-credit classes in the liberal arts and Loyola University Chicago has an online option that allows you to sign up for a single course. Chicago’s colleges and universities also invite the public to lectures, concerts, exhibitions and gallery openings.
Classes outside of the traditional academic setting are also plentiful. For example, learn a new language, enroll in a variety of creative classes at The Second City, explore the past from a new perspective at The Newberry, discover new interests at The Center for Life and Learning or treat yourself to a wide range of intriguing new subjects at The Chicago Cultural Center. Learn new cooking skills at one of Chicago’s highly regarded cooking classes. Just outside of Chicago, The Chicago Botanic Garden presents a wide variety of classes — from garden design and birding to photography and horticulture.
While Chicago offers nearly an infinite array of avenues to learn and grow, there’s a remarkable calendar of classes, events and programs at The Clare.
The Clare’s life enrichment programming aims to provide residents with the highest level of engagement, fun and vitality. This may take the form of exploring individual passions via community book clubs and discussion groups or attending lectures with professors and researchers from nearby universities on history, science, current events and more. Often, the residents themselves serve as the main act, presenting on their areas of expertise or leading workshops to introduce their craft to others. Local ensembles, musicians and vocalists regularly perform for residents of The Clare, as well.
At The Clare, the opportunities for lifelong learning are woven into the very fabric of the community.