The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is governed by two oversight bodies: the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Board of Governors of the school. The trustees oversee both the school and the museum, while the governors focus solely on the school. The governors set policies for management of the school and steward SAIC's mission, objectives, and core values within the Art Institute corporation.
The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879, a critical era in the history of Chicago as civic energies were devoted to rebuilding the metropolis that had been destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. Its first collections consisting primarily of plaster casts, the Art Institute found its permanent home in 1893, when it moved into a building, constructed jointly with the city of Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. That building, its entry flanked by the two famous bronze lions, remains the "front door" of the museum even today. In keeping with the academic origins of the institution, a research library was constructed in 1901; eight major expansions for gallery and administrative space have followed, with the latest being the Modern Wing, which opened in 2009.
Together the museum and the School hold $1.4 billion in assets, including endowment and property. The approximate annual operating budget of the museum is $105 million and the School $113 million.