The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium will close for at least one day during this month's NATO summit, but potential logistical problems have museum officials unsure whether to shut down even longer.
Because of parking and traffic restrictions, the three museums, all on the Museum Campus next to Soldier Field, will not open Sunday, May 20, the first day of the two-day summit.
"We want to make sure folks are not only able to get here, it needs to be easy to get here," said Shedd spokesman Roger Germann. "If it takes two hours instead of 20 minutes … that takes away from the experience."
Lake Shore Drive will be closed from 39th Street to Balbo Avenue starting at midnight Saturday, May 19, and will be reopened "for the evening rush hour" Monday, May 21. Officials have not given a specific time it would be reopened.
Closing the museums additional days could mean potential revenue losses.
Shedd officials said it would be difficult to say how much revenue would be lost, but a typical Sunday in May brings in 6,500 people with one-day adult tickets ranging from $8 to $35. But Germann said the Shedd has long anticipated the possible loss in business due to NATO and lowered projections 12 percent for the month.
Adler spokeswoman Molly O'Connell said she could not estimate the financial impact, but the average Sunday brings in 900 people paying $5 to $28 for admission.
Still, both said they are supportive of NATO coming to Chicago.
"There's no way to forecast (the potential loss), but that's not our mindset," O'Connell said, adding that the museum's focus is serving guests.
O'Connell and Germann both said they would like their museums to be open because they could attract new visitors in town for the summit. But both museums said they need more clarification from the Secret Service and police on parking and road closings before a final decision could be made. They said that is expected this week.
A Field Museum representative also said officials have not determined yet whether it will be open Saturday or Monday.
Although it's farther away from the site of the summit, the Art Institute of Chicago is near expected downtown street closings, and officials are undecided whether to open during the summit, spokesman Chai Lee said.
The Museum of Science and Industry, at Lake Shore Drive and 57th Street in Hyde Park, will have regular hours, said spokeswoman Beth Boston. The museum is about five miles south of McCormick Place, the site of the summit.