SITE: INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM
ADDRESS: 800 F St. N.W., Washington, DC 20004
WEB SITE: www.spymuseum.org
COLOR & COMPOSITION: The museum's permanent exhibition displays different aspects of espionage, showcasing the ingenuity and imagination of spies. Button-size cameras and guns disguised as lipsticks are on display; interactive activities available to guests include breaking a code and adopting a cover. A reconstruction of the streets of post-war Berlin is the backdrop for a section on Cold War-era spying. More modern aspects of the museum include the special event room — a space with floor-to-ceiling arched windows.
EVENT AREAS: The special event room — made by combining the Ultra and Venona rooms — features 1,700 square feet of space. Audiovisual elements, including Internet access and a retractable projector, are available. The restaurant Zola, located in the same building as the museum, has the Dreyfus Room, which seats 45 for dinner.
PREFERRED PERSPECTIVES: Zola serves American cuisine, offering dishes such as forest mushroom pot pie, crispy veal meatloaf sliders and a roasted portobello mushroom and fontina herb polenta stack. The museum has hosted such events as the Ball Aerospace holiday party, the British Embassy holiday party, the Wells Fargo annual luncheon and the Continental Airlines annual dinner.
EXTRA EXHIBITS: One possible addition to events held at the museum is speakers who bring unique stories to life and offer informed opinions on historical as well as current events. One example is Tony Mendez, a former CIA chief of disguise whose 25-year career included undercover work in the most important theaters of the Cold War. Also, museum tours are often added before or after events.
SITE: MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH
ADDRESS: 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, TX 76107
WEB SITE: www.themodern.org
COLOR & COMPOSITION: In an attempt to reflect the unadorned quality of the modern works of art enclosed in it, the museum is made up of five pavilions constructed of concrete and glass. The building sits on 11 acres, including a 1.5-acre reflecting pond. Inside, the concrete walls and glass windows complement 3,000 works of modern and contemporary art. Instead of spending the decor budget on flowers, many planners opt to use lighting on the concrete walls and incorporate bold aspects such as mirrored bar facades and leopard-print tablecloths.
EVENT AREAS: Some 53,000 square feet of gallery space over two floors is available for events. Other spaces include the 250-seat Modern Auditorium, the Cafe Modern and its outdoor terrace, and the Grand Lobby. For large groups, the Cafe Modern and the Grand Lobby may be combined for a capacity of 1,200 standing guests.
PREFERRED PERSPECTIVES: The Grand Lobby is named as the museum's most popular event space, with 40-foot-high windows. Its concrete walls are a blank canvas for accommodating any event's decor. The 8,000-square-foot outdoor Sculpture Garden, with a 300-person capacity, overlooks the art galleries and the reflection pond and affords a view of downtown Fort Worth. Bon Appetit is the exclusive caterer for the museum.
EXTRA EXHIBITS: Events held at the museum include the Neiman Marcus Designer's Dinner and the Texas Christian University Fine Arts Gala. In addition to private tours of the collections, future events can take advantage of the upcoming “Pretty Baby” exhibition, which runs until May and explores diverse notions of childhood identity.
SITE: ASIAN ART MUSEUM OF SAN FRANCISCO
ADDRESS: 200 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94102
WEB SITE: www.asianart.org
COLOR & COMPOSITION: Housed in the building that was formerly San Francisco's main library, the art museum was transformed with a mix of beaux-arts and modern elements by architect Gae Aulenti, designer of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The building contains 15,000 treasures of Asian art. Over three floors, guests can glimpse precious ceramics, sculptures, paintings and manuscripts in the museum's galleries from a range of regions including Tibet, Japan, Cambodia and Korea.
EVENT AREAS: While the museum doesn't allow daytime events, fundraisers, political events or events for minors, it does accommodate social and corporate events, ranging from formal seated dinners to anniversary parties, in the North and South Courts. Thanks to skylights, natural light floods these event spaces, which have space for up to 300 people and open onto galleries that display special exhibitions. Samsung Hall is a 3,100-square-foot space with marble walls and floor, punctuated with large windows and a chandelier.
PREFERRED PERSPECTIVES: The most popular rental option is Samsung Hall combined with the loggia and second floor galleries for a capacity of 450 guests. Clients can add the North and South Courts to increase reception capacity to about 1,400 guests. Private tours, educational programs, artist demonstrations and performances are available as well — clients can choose to have three floors of galleries or special exhibitions available for their guests to enjoy during the event.
EXTRA EXHIBITS: Unique options for events at the museum blend the surroundings with additional Asian culture-inspired options. Taiko drumming, lion dancing and henna artists are a few examples of distinctive entertainment options. From February until April, the museum will display the special exhibition “Princes, Palaces and Passion: The Art of India's Mewar Kingdom,” which has been in the making for eight years and will include court paintings, storytelling scrolls and elaborate clay sculptures of folk deities.