my event planning bucket list: DC museums

It’s no secret that I’m a huge history nerd and I love museums and historic places. So it makes sense that I’m dying to plan events at some of the amazing museums that DC has to offer. I’ve already crossed the Newseum and the Library of Congress off of my list, but here are a few others where I’d love to work, or even just attend!

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

events at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

There are actually two air and space Smithsonians – one on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and one near the Dulles Airport in Chantilly. Both look like pretty fabulous places to host events. I wouldn’t mind having to “work around the giant airplane” in my design! The museum’s various halls and exhibits can accommodate events of up to 7,000 people for a reception or 1,000 people for a banquet. More info here.

National Geographic Society Museum

Events at the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society Museum has pretty fun and interactive rotating exhibits that I always want to visit; there is an 385-seat auditorium, plus Explorers Hall and the dining hall, which can host receptions up to 500 people. For more information visit their website.


National Museum of American History

Events at the Smithsonian American History Museum

This is the one museum almost everyone visits when they come to DC – you don’t even have to appreciate history to enjoy it as they have several pop culture-related exhibits (Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz are usually on display). This is my second favorite of the Smithsonians. The museum can accommodate receptions for up to 2,200 guests or dinners for up to 350 guests. Several exhibitions are available for event space – my personal dream is to host something in the First Ladies exhibit! More info here.


National Building Museum

Events at the National Building Museum

This museum has one of the most dramatic and stunning event spaces in all of DC. Look at this photo! The Great Hall can accommodate up to 2,000 guests. There are also several smaller spaces around the museum. More info here.

National Museum of the American Indian

Event at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

This is my favorite museum on the national mall – party because I studied American Indian culture in college and one of my professors was involved in the development of the museum and partly because I also did museum studies in college (I told you – I’m a history nerd!) and this museum is an excellent example of a modern museum, especially since it tells an ongoing story, not just history. Also, the food court offers native American food in addition to typical food court fare – two words: fry bread.  Finally, since it’s the newest Smithsonian on the mall, the event space is a bit more intentional than at other venues. There is a theater that seats 300; other spaces can fit up to 600 guests standing, 300 seated. More info here.


National Portrait Gallery

Events at the National Portrait Gallery

I love the Portrait Gallery – it’s a gorgeous space and the content is amazing. The Great Hall can accommodate up to 366 guests and the enclosed Courtyard can accommodate up to 1,200 guests. It’s one of the most beautiful spaces in DC. More info here.

Well those are a few on my bucket list. Remember that some museums and cultural institutions have strict restrictions on the type of events that can be hosted there (the Smithsonians, for example, do not allow social events, including weddings), and most public spaces are not available for daytime rental. Several venues do not allow certain food and beverage – such as red wine – or do not permit food and beverage near galleries and exhibits.

Did I miss any of your favorites?

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