Some staffers at Chicago's downtown museums are getting a few
extra days off next week as the NATO summit rolls into town. Three
museums - the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler
Planetarium - will be closed Saturday through Monday, May 19-21.
The Field Museum will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
At least two of the museums - the Art Institute and the Field -
will be holding private parties for NATO attendees and guests on
Sunday evening. Security concerns around those events, and around
the summit scheduled for Sunday at McCormick Place, prompted the
The decision to close on Monday and Saturday was not taken
lightly by any of the museums.
"We are loathe to close," said Erin Hogan, director of public
affairs at the Art Institute. "Logistically, it would be very
difficult for employees to find their way to and from the museum."
Hogan said there would be a skeleton crew on duty (including her)
to make sure things go smoothly.
"We're generally very excited about NATO," said Hogan. "It's
just that no one here has ever experienced anything of this
magnitude before and so we're erring on the side of caution."
The Shedd will have staffers staying overnight to feed the fish
"Animal care is our top priority here at Shedd," said Andrea
Smalec, director of communications and public relations at the
The Field Museum staff is confident, after talking with the
Secret Service, that people will be able to find their way to the
museum campus on Saturday, but they decided late this week that
Monday would be problematic. The Museum Campus stop on the Metra
Electric line will be closed, as will that part of Lake Shore
"We know there will be some street closures and we will be
posting directions on our website," said Nancy O'Shea, the Field's
public relations director. "We will make it as easy as possible for
people to get here."
The Shedd's Smalec points out that people will be arriving for
the summit as early as the beginning of next week. She hopes
checking out the museums (and one aquarium in particular) will be
an item on their to-do lists as they tour Chicago.
"We think there will be longterm benefits," added Smalec, as
Chicago becomes more of a player on the world's stage.
Ed. Note: This story has been modified from the original to
reflect the updated information about the Field Museum closing on
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