The spectacular architecture and culture-rich surroundings of museums provide truly special settings for special events. Here are five fabulous museums that cater to group business:
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (www.philamuseum.org). This museum is popular for dinners and awards ceremonies. Spaces include the Saint-Laurent Gallery, which can accommodate 70 guests; Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines Cloister, which can seat 30 for dinners; and a restaurant with capacity for 200.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., (www.nmwa.org). Located in downtown Washington, the Renaissance Revival-style museum houses some of the world's most important works of art by women. The third-floor gallery features permanent collections and can be used for small seated dinners or cocktail receptions; the performance hall can seat 200 guests for presentations and lectures.
Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland (www.rockhall.com). Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the building features dramatic geometric forms and cantilevered spaces that house interactive exhibits and an extensive collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia. The entire museum is available for private rental. Function space includes the ground and plaza lobbies and the third-floor cafe, which together can accommodate 2,500 guests.
Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Wash. (www.museumofglass.org). Designed by Arthur Anderson, this contemporary art glass museum is surrounded by outdoor art installations and is connected to downtown Tacoma by the Chihuly Bridge of Glass pedestrian walkway. The 6,900-square-foot Grand Hall at the entrance of the museum can accommodate 600 people for a reception; the museum's 180-seat theater is a popular choice for meetings. Outside, three tiered terraces, each accommodating more than 300 banquet-style, offer views of Mount Rainier.
Science Museum, London (www.sciencemuseum.org.uk). The Making the Modern World gallery houses some of the most important pieces in the museum's collection, including the Apollo 10 command module. Designed with meetings in mind, the gallery, with a reception capacity of 750, lets guests sit among the artifacts.
The impressive East Hall features a working mill engine as the centerpiece and can accommodate 600 for receptions; the ground-floor Wellcome Wing can host 2,000. There is also an IMAX theater.