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Museums are not musty old buildings when #eventprofs get their hands on them. Here are 6 museum venues that provide an extraordinary thematic backdrop to deliver the story for your meeting or event.
Museums and visitor attractions often provide a ready-made, highly compelling thematic option for meetings and events either reinforcing, or indeed juxtaposing, the key event objectives. Essentially they can be the vehicle to tell your event story and can do so compelling, convincingly and comprehensively when appropriately chosen.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York City can be privatized after hours for groups of up to 1200 guests, making the complex a must-use venue for international events staged in New York City. The short 8 minute ferry to the island from Manhattan is a tiny reminder of the long and perilous voyages that some 12 million immigrants made to the “new world”, passing through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. The entire facility has now been restored to it 1918 - 1924 appearance and offers over 1300 sqm of indoor event space in addition to extensive outdoor terraces with spectacular views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin
The Old Library at Trinity College Dublin can be hired exclusively after hours for wine receptions bringing guests into a truly remarkable historical setting redolent of deep learning and serious scholarship. The fact that it’s actually a working library that scholars from all over the world still consult makes the experience all the more astonishing. Dating from the 1700s, the Old Library famously hosts the Book of Kells, a precious manuscript on vellum painstakingly illustrated by Irish monks in the 9th century. The Long Room, which runs the entire length of the Old Library is the pièce de résistance affording guests a unique immersion into the world of bygone scholarship. Amongst the recent visitors was Queen Elizabeth II.
Voted number 1 museum in the world on Trip Advisor, the Art Institute in Chicago is another museum that’s also a highly desired meetings and events venue. Its downtown location on Michigan Avenue and its gracious monumental elevations would themselves qualify it as a perfect venue but go through the door and you encounter stunning light filled spaces that seamlessly fuse contemporary and period styles. Within the Art Museum you’ll find the re-constructed Trading Room of the Chicago Stock Exchange, originally designed by leading architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in the 1890s. This magnificent pillarless 500 sqm space is available for private banquets of up to 300 guests.
The Titanic Story with all its plots and subplots is universally known and resonates with all peoples, genders and ages. The eponymous museum is one of Europe’s most visited attractions and has extensive meeting and events space. This venue is perfect for Gala Dinners with a vintage or retro theme. In the purpose built event spaces you can replicate all the drama and ceremony of the Edwardian era. You can also include an after-hours, private visit to the exhibition itself that is both a social history and an encounter with the deeply emotional Titanic story. The Titanic suite can accommodate up to 580 guests for an elegant banquet.
The Sistine Chapel was recently rented out as a private venue for the first time. 40 participants on a trip to Italy sponsored by Porsche enjoyed a private concert there by the choir of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Michelangelo’s incomparable frescos. Following the concert they enjoyed an exclusive dinner in one of the halls of the Vatican Museum. Since being elected, Pope Francis has been exploring how the extensive assets of the Vatican can be leveraged to generate funds for the poor and destitute while, simultaneously, paying attention to the need for care in the preservation of the priceless treasures of the Museum. It’s an interesting sustainability discussion with a potential win win for all concerned.
My friend Paul Miller of Spectra DMC recommended this museum to me and it didn’t disappoint. Hidden in the newly gentrified Notting Hill neighbourhood in London, the Museum of Brands features over 12,000 original items from the unique Robert Opie Collection. Organised chronologically by decade the exhibition tells how “well-loved brands evolved through their creative use of packaging and advertising - and how we evolved with them.” This is both a trip down memory lane and a fascinating insight into how brands develop. There is a dedicated light filled meeting room for daytime use or the exhibition spaces themselves can be used for small dinners of up to 55 guests after closing time.
Museums offer so much to #eventprofs. As public buildings they are universally accessible, properly insured with fire certification and generally extremely safe for crowds. They offer built-in décor and theming so all you need, usually, is some production and AV – although some are well equipped in this regard too. Best of all they come with their own unique story and that #eventprofs can build around to create an extraordinary, engaging, enduring event story of your own.