The community of Carbondale is enriched by SIU having a teaching museum on campus, the University Museum, which has 60,000 artifacts in its collection and hosts traveling shows from known artists. In addition to the University Museum, there is the African American Museum and the Science Center. Theater-goers can see both professional and student-produced plays and performances at the university's McLeod and Kleinau Theaters.
SIUC is also home to the largest auditorium in Southern Illinois, Shryock Auditorium. Shryock Auditorium has brought in many performing artists, along with orchestras and other musical productions. There are also productions by The Jackson County Stage Company. In 2007, the Stage Company and Carbondale Community Arts (CCA) partnered to purchase and renovate the Varsity Theatre, which had been vacant since 2003, into the Varsity Center for the Arts (VCA). The VCA is now the performing home of the Stage Company and also supports a variety of other fine arts and performances through the CCA.