Events for the men and women who’ve given their all to country and community are made special when the host venue strikes a uniquely American patriotic chord. These six venues are ideal for entertaining a reunion group of military comrades, a veterans’ celebration or an honor ceremony for law-enforcement professionals. Of course, they also host private functions for associations, corporations and other groups.
National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center – Columbus, Ga.
Opened in 2009, the National Infantry Museum is popular for military reunions because of its proximity to Fort Benning, where many trained and/or served during their military careers, according to Cyndy Cerbin, the museum’s director of communications. Recent reunion groups hosted here include the 17th Infantry Regiment (110), the 504th Bomb Group (40), the 47th Infantry Regiment (200) and the 504th Military Police Battalion (50). The 190,000 sq.-ft. museum offers multiple event space set-ups from the 13,500 sq.-ft. Grand Hall—accommodating 500 seated and 700 for a reception—to the 6,500 sq.-ft. Lobby—accommodating 250 seated and 400 for receptions. The more intimate Gallery is available for receptions of 100, and theater space is available for up to 250. In addition to fully catered events, guest can tour the museum and 155-acre campus, compete on combat simulators, use meeting spaces, screen films, hold presentations or conduct awards ceremonies.
National Law Enforcement Museum – Washington, D.C.
The National Law Enforcement Museum, which opened in October 2018, introduces visitors to the proud history tradition of American law enforcement. The many interactive exhibits encourage guests to “walk a mile in the shoes” of law enforcement officers including forensics exhibits, training simulations, and firearms displays. Only blocks from the National Mall, NLEM offers a unique venue with a half- dozen event spaces allowing for intimate cocktail receptions, small, seated dinners, large scale receptions and buffets. The 4880 sq.-ft. Main Exhibition Floor hosts up to 430 for receptions, with 120 seated for dinners in the adjoining 2080 sq.-ft. Special Exhibition space.
National WWII Museum – New Orleans, La.
The National WWII Museum is America’s official museum about World War II, as designated by Congress. The museum brings history to life through exhibits, multimedia experiences, and thousands of personal accounts, delivering an immersive tour of World War II in every theater of war. NWIIM houses several large pavilions on its multiacre campus and offers more than one dozen event venues to give planners several memorable options. The PT-305 Boathouse for example, is well-suited for receptions up to 130 or seated dinners for 60. This special space houses the cruiser that operated in the Mediterranean along the coast of Southern France and Northern Italy from 1944 to the end of the war. Take your group back in time to BB’s Stage Door Canteen. The WWII throwback holds up to 200 reception-style and is the museum’s largest daytime venue with seating for 150. Signature entertainment options include the Victory Belles trio and the Victory Six swing band. One of the Museum’s larger venues is the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. This space hosts dining, dances and receptions amidst World War II artifacts including a C-47 Skytrain and the historic LCVP Higgins boat. This space hosts seated events up to 250 guests or receptions for 600.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum – Columbus, Ohio
Opened in October 2018, NVMM brings the concepts of honor and duty to life through interactive and educational exhibits, thoughtful landscaping and iconic architecture. Championed by the late John Glenn (U.S. Senator from Ohio after being the first person to orbit the Earth), the museum is the only place in America where the stories of veterans across all branches of service and all eras of conflict are told together. One of the most captivating features is a long, outdoor, spiraling processional ramp wrapping the building leading to the Ceremonial Rooftop Amphitheater. This outdoor space overlooks the Scioto River and downtown Columbus, offering reception space for up to 950 and banquet dining for up to 350. “We anticipate many veterans’ groups will take advantage of this unique space for processions, ceremonies and special gatherings,” says Victoria Boczkowski, event and protocol manager at the NVMM. The museum’s 4,485 sq.-ft Great Hall is the primary event space, as it hosts 400 for receptions and 150 seated. Groups enjoy the intimacy of the entire museum with their events with tours available.
San Diego Air & Space Museum – San Diego, Calif.
Located in the heart of storied Balboa Park, the San Diego Air & Space Museum explores the global history of aviation. From the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon of 1783—the first manned vehicle in recorded history to break the bonds of gravity and lift humans above the Earth, to today’s spacecraft, this venue offers fascinating backstories behind man’s never ceasing quest for travel above ground. Planners find can accommodate up to 700 for a sit-down dinner and 2,000 for receptions. Event space includes their large pavilion, Atrium Under the Stars, and the state-of-the-art 3D/4D Zable Theater. Recent events held here include the International Air & Space Induction Celebration and the Apollo 8 Anniversary Celebration. Docent-led tours and access to flight simulators, and special exhibits allow guests to enjoy a customized experience.
National Museum of The United States Army – Ft. Belvoir, Va.
Currently under construction, the museum is set to open in the first half of 2020 inside of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, Virginia, 20 miles from Washington D.C. and less than 15 minutes from Mount Vernon in Alexandria. The venue will celebrate the service and sacrifice of more than 30 million men and women serving in the Army since 1775. At 185,000 square feet, the museum will feature thousands of artifacts, artwork and ephemera depicting Army service throughout America’s history. The 8,600 sq.-ft.-lobby will include an open atrium and accommodate up to 450 seated. The Veterans Hall is 3,789 square feet and will accommodate 160 seated and 270 for receptions. The Army Theater will host 122 for an immersive 4D-experience and the outdoor Medal of Honor Garden is available for receptions and function space.