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  • 1.  Looking for FUN Museum Gala / Party Ideas

    Posted 08-02-2019 09:06 AM
    The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is supported by a dedicated group of (mostly) women who raise funds for the museum's education programs.  I'm a member as well as a museum professional.  

    Throughout the year, members organize fundraising gatherings, parties, events.  I've been asked to co-chair an evening event in February and am coming to this creative group for fresh ideas and themes.

     What event themes have been fun for you to attend / organize?  AND raised funds?
    Mary Anna Murphy
    MAM Exhibit Design
    Designing cool exhibits for 20 years!

  • 2.  RE: Looking for FUN Museum Gala / Party Ideas

    Posted 08-05-2019 08:58 AM
    Hi Mary,

    This was a little different from your event but when I worked at The Ringling Museum we helped co-host an annual gala for The Lighthouse of Manasota. Their organization aids people with vision loss and our event Art in the Dark was all about experiencing art with senses other than sight. We choose an object from our collection to highlight and were able to theme the evening around that piece. For example, the food was inspired by the rococo painting we selected. We also performed a visual description of the work and included small tactile objects at each table that were reflected in the piece (so participants could feel some of the textures we were talking about). It was a fun evening that included both a silent and live auction (and raised a lot of funds this way).

    If you are looking to raise funds for education programs, maybe something akin to these programs could be shown/done? An engaging evening of hands-on educational programming?I obviously like hands-on events! Feel feel to reach out if you have any follow-up questions for me.

    Ana Juarez
    Fine Arts Registrar
    Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
    (305) 613-3190

    Ana Juarez
    Outreach Coordinator
    John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
    Sarasota FL

  • 3.  RE: Looking for FUN Museum Gala / Party Ideas

    Posted 08-05-2019 09:54 AM
    Hi Mary Anna! I am the Event Coordinator for the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses in Oxford, Mississippi and work with a similar board for fundraising. For the last 7 or 8 years (no one can seem to decided on an official start date), the Friends of the Museum have hosted Harvest Supper in October. While it started as a small (100-ish guests) party in a board member's back yard, it has grown to a sold out throw-down for 500+ at Rowan Oak, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.

    Funds are raised primarily by selling sponsorships, starting at $500 for two tickets. This event has become so popular that we've sold out to sponsors for the last 3 or 4 years and have had no individual tickets to sell. Each year, we feature local chefs and musicians and auction art from local and regional artists. Initially, the auction was live but we switched to an online/silent format in 2018.

    Harvest Supper gives about $100,000 - $125,000 annually to the museum after invoices are paid, $28k of which comes from the art auction.

    While this theme doesn't necessarily translate to February, the format seems to work well for us. For more information/pictures, check out

    If you want more info or to chat in general, let me know!

    Kate Wallace
    Mmebership, Events, Communications Coordinator
    University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses
    University MS