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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Rodell

The treasure of museums as event venues

If you’ve ever seen the Sex in the City movie, you will recall the moment Carrie walks into the New York Public Library and realizes she’d found the perfect venue for her wedding to Big. Museums have the same effect on me. Some people will see relics of the past and exhibits, and I will see unlimited event possibilities.

The Smithsonian system in Washington, D.C. holds hundreds of event spaces alone. Smaller galleries and museums all over the country supplement their incomes by renting out venue spaces to patrons. These spaces are great for every type of event from small concerts to meetings to weddings to receptions to book signings and more.

One reason why museums should be considered is décor. Your event planner and designer can create an event centered in the museum’s design and exhibits that will not require them to tax your budget on space-filling decorations.

Another reason is security. Generally, museums require venue renters to pay for museum security during your event, especially if it is after hours. Your guests deserve that type of comfort.

Most museum venues come with perks: lighted parking in secure lots, the ability to bring in outside catering (always ask) and wine/spirits service, an environment that lends itself to flow and ease of guest engagement, table and chairs to rent (some will provide with contract, ask), and spaces that are prime for photographs. There are other perks but that will depend on the museum.

I have simplified the consideration of museums as venue spaces, but there are details too. Many details like rental insurance and time restrictions. If you have family and friends who are accustomed to showing up without sending the proper RSVP, then museum venues are possibly out of the question for you. Capacity restrictions are often tightly adhered to by museum officials and your municipality.

Here is one last consideration: your event planner. Are they experienced with using museums as venues? An inexperienced planner can cost you additional money and time.

[Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum – Smithsonian Institution]


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