August 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2001 Current Issue
August 2001
Short Cuts:
Tours with guidance


When Chicago’s Field Museum (312-665-7300; unveils its Cleopatra exhibit in November, an exclusive tour of the show, along with a lecture program by renowned experts, will be available to groups as part of the museum’s new “Inside Out” marketing strategy.

“It is designed for corporate executives who want a little more than the standard public exhibit,” says Laurie Squire, director of group sales. “I have three Egyptologists in my pocket for that.” Shows scheduled for 2002 include exhibits on Sigmund Freud and the history of chocolate.

The Field Museum isn’t the only facility eager to strut its expertise beyond formal exhibits. At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (202-357-1650; in Washington, D.C., a $5,000 donation will buy groups of up to 15 a 90-minute tour of two collections of their choice, led by top researchers and scientists working in those departments.

“People like the idea of going somewhere not open to the general public,” says Ted Anderson, manager of special events. The museum began offering this option to corporate groups last year.

In some cases, museums are catering to the natural urge to touch, rather than just look at the wonders on display. Visitors are encouraged to handle rocks, minerals, fossils, insects and bones at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center (800-729-7725) in Leesburg, Va. In fact, the center closed many curated displays to make room for hands-on educational programs. Groups of up to 25 are welcome.

• C.A.S.

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