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Bliss Celebrations Guide

Vendor Spotlight On… Harvard Art Museums

Image courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums

Image courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums

Name:  Harvard Art Museums

Location: Cambridge, MA

Can you offer some quick background on the museums?  Harvard Art Museums—comprising the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums—are newly united in a state-of-the-art facility designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The renovation and expansion of the museums’ landmark building at 32 Quincy Street in Cambridge, originally built in 1927, brings the three museums and their collections together under one roof for the first time, inviting students, faculty, scholars, and the public into one of the world’s great institutions for arts scholarship and research.

Harvard Art Museums are essentially a major metropolitan museum on the campus of one of the world’s finest universities. The museums have internationally renowned collections, which are among the largest art museum collections in the United States. Together, the collections consist of approximately 250,000 objects from the ancient world to the present and across all media, including objects from the Americas, Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Asia.

How many spaces are there available for events? How many can each space hold? We offer two unique spaces for weddings. The Calderwood Courtyard is a key architectural element from our 1927 facility and, today, is at the heart of our newly renovated building at 32 Quincy Street. This space can accommodate up to 200 for a seated dinner and around 160 for a seated dinner with a dance area. If the desire is to hold a standing reception, this space can accommodate up to 400. Our other location, Adolphus Busch Hall, can accommodate up to 80 seated or standing. In the warmer months, guests also have the option to enjoy the adjoining terrace and garden.

Harvard Art Museums collaborates with a caterer (The Catered Affair) for events—does this mean that all clients are obligated to work with this caterer or are they able to hire any catering service of their choice? The Catered Affair is the caterer for Harvard Art Museums. The Catered Affair is known for highly customized cuisine ranging from updated classics to new American and beyond.  Their talented team of five star chefs are able to create menus that please all of the senses incorporating locally grown and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.  Additionally, they welcome the challenge of creating specialized ethnic cuisine that reflects our clients’ heritage.  This can range from South African dishes to Pakistani specialties. Anything is possible.

In addition to catering, does the venue offer referrals to other vendors (like for lighting, decoration, flowers)? Absolutely! We are happy to recommend vendors that have worked in our spaces before as it can really streamline the planning process for the client. On the other side, if a client has a long standing relationship with a particular vendor and really wants them for their event, we will assist them in getting familiar with our space.

What work was done in the recent remodel? How have the renovations enhanced these spaces? Harvard Art Museums’ recent renovation and expansion builds on the legacies of the three museums and unites their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s responsive design preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate 21st-century needs. Following a six-year building project, the museums now feature 40 percent more gallery space, an expanded Art Study Center, conservation labs, and classrooms, and a striking new glass roof that bridges the facility’s historic and contemporary architecture. The new Harvard Art Museums’ building is more functional, accessible, spacious, and above all, more transparent. The three constituent museums retain their distinct identities in this new facility, yet their close proximity provides exciting opportunities to experience works of art in a broader context.

What special features does Harvard Art Museums offer to clients? What makes the museums a unique event space? Along with the beautiful architecture, we offer access to our stunning galleries which house a collection ranging from ancient Chinese bronze to modern contemporary sculpture and guests get to mingle in the center of all of it. There are sightlines to wonderful works of art in every corner of the space and there is something for everybody to enjoy. It spurs such fantastic conversations and memorable experiences for all that are involved, it really is hard to find anything else like it.

Why should couples choose to hold their wedding reception at Harvard Art Museums? Harvard Art Museums offers a truly one-of-a kind experience. These spaces are timeless, they marry the old with the new, and they are really set apart from the traditional reception options that are out there. The space itself is so unique and so beautiful that when it comes to the design, it doesn’t need additional effects to create an experience. We rarely work with special event coordinators since between us and our in-house caterer, clients are very well taken care of and they have a great team working with them to accommodate a variety of their needs. Not to mention, you are supporting a non-profit when you choose one of our spaces.

Any advice you can offer couples planning to book the space so they can make the best use of it? Any time periods they should avoid? What’s the best time of year to book it? Come for a visit. Pictures alone simply cannot capture the atmosphere and experience of standing in the space looking up through the glass roof and into the sky. During evening events, you get to experience the light changing from day to night. It’s inspiring. We love walking guests through the building and galleries and find that this is the best opportunity to discuss how our space can mold to a particular vision or desired experience. We welcome weddings at all points of the year.