Special Events Policy and Vendor Guidelines

Please refer to the pdf files below for full text of policy and guidelines.

NMAI Washington, D.C., Special Events Policy (PDF)
NMAI Washington, D.C., Vendor Guidelines (PDF)
NMAI New York Special Events Policy (PDF)
NMAI New York Vendor Guidelines (PDF)

Policies for Special Events (Quick List)

  1. The NMAI is considered a co-sponsor with all donors and organizations having special events at the NMAI.
  2. All events must conform to the Smithsonian Institution’s and NMAI’s policies, mission, and goals. Events that are personal (weddings, birthday parties, etc.) or political are not permissible.
  3. To secure a date on the museum calendar, the NMAI requires the co-sponsoring organization to sign a letter of agreement and return it with a non-refundable deposit.
  4. The NMAI Office of Special Events is an integral partner in all phases of the event process as well as a resource for assistance.
  5. Special events should not interfere with the normal visitation or work of the museum. The regular operating hours of the NMAI’s Mall museum in Washington, D.C., are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Regular operating hours for NMAI’s George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) in New York are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.
  6. There are no parking facilities at the NMAI.
  7. The NMAI is not responsible for any disruptions that may occur due to mechanical difficulties, facility emergencies, construction, or unanticipated events beyond the museum’s control.
  8. Donations to the museum are not refundable.
  9. The NMAI has final approval over menu, printed materials, programming, décor, etc., to ensure special events in the museum appropriately reflect Native cultures.
  10. Special events at the NMAI usually last no longer than three hours.

Guidelines for Vendors (Quick List)

  1. All vendors for each event must secure final approval from the NMAI.
  2. All caterers must have a current insurance certificate on file with the Smithsonian Institution.
  3. Red wine and red juices are prohibited. Please note: At the George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) in New York, red wines and juices are restricted and only permitted in certain designated areas of the building used for special events.
  4. Sterno is permitted. Propane and butane are prohibited.  Please note: Sterno is only permitted in designated food preparation areas at the GGHC in New York.
  5. Fire starters are permitted. Matches are prohibited.
  6. Plastic must cover and protect all floors of the designated kitchen staging areas in the museum.
  7. Votive candles are permitted. Taper candles and open flames (such as flambé and stir frying) are prohibited. Please note: Votive candles are prohibited at the GGHC in New York.
  8. Florists and caterers must remove all flowers, trash, equipment, and debris from the museum at all events’ conclusions.
  9. Due to the lack of storage space at the museum, all equipment for a special event must be delivered immediately preceding set-up for the event and removed immediately after the event.
  10. The museum can arrange basic audio-visual support.