Special Events Policy and Vendor Guidelines
Please refer to the pdf files below for full text of policy and guidelines.
Policies for Special Events (Quick List)
- The NMAI is considered a co-sponsor with all donors and organizations having special events at the NMAI.
- 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.
- 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.
- The NMAI Office of Special Events is an integral partner in all phases of the event process as well as a resource for assistance.
- 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.
- There are no parking facilities at the NMAI.
- 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.
- Donations to the museum are not refundable.
- The NMAI has final approval over menu, printed materials, programming, décor, etc., to ensure special events in the museum appropriately reflect Native cultures.
- Special events at the NMAI usually last no longer than three hours.
Guidelines for Vendors (Quick List)
- All vendors for each event must secure final approval from the NMAI.
- All caterers must have a current insurance certificate on file with the Smithsonian Institution.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fire starters are permitted. Matches are prohibited.
- Plastic must cover and protect all floors of the designated kitchen staging areas in the museum.
- 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.
- Florists and caterers must remove all flowers, trash, equipment, and debris from the museum at all events’ conclusions.
- 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.
- The museum can arrange basic audio-visual support.