The museum's founding mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret works of art of the highest quality from across the globe for the inspiration and education of our visitors. Today our collection comprises approximately 300,000 works of arts—ranging from ancient art through to work being created by today’s foremost artists—and our visitors number 1.5 million annually from across Chicagoland, the country, and the world. Located in the heart of Chicago, just a block from Lake Michigan and adjacent to Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute is composed of eight buildings and covers nearly one million square feet. Our eleven curatorial departments and over 500 employees not only care for our illustrious permanent collection but also present 30 special exhibitions and hundreds of gallery talks, lectures, performances, and events every year. Enhancing all this is our research library for art and architecture, one of the finest in the country, and our state-of-the-art conservation facilities that both safeguard our collection for future generations and continually uncover new and exciting revelations about it.