Meet in these states to connect with the past
As meeting professionals choose destinations for meetings and events, there is always the pressure to do something new, innovative, never seen before, etc. But what if we went in the opposite direction? What are some of the ways in which professionals could create a memorable experience for attendees by celebrating the past?
Groups can meet in spaces where they could learn about ancient civilizations, pivotal events in American history and even be in the presence of fossilized prehistoric creatures. Smart Meetings has compiled a list of venues across America that will guarantee a memorable meeting that provide connections to ancient civilizations, anthropology and archaeology while still offering modern meeting accommodations.
Visit a community that predates the very forming of the United States all together by heading to Old Albuquerque. The village was made official in 1706, but generations of agricultural workers had made the area between the Sandia mountains and Three Sisters volcanoes their home for generations beforehand. Having its history tied to several wars and influences of Spain, Mexico and the United States, Old Albuquerque offers options for groups to experience the rich—and sometimes dark—history of beautiful New Mexico with bicycle rides to great eateries and views or nighttime group tours of ghost towns.
Go further back in time in New Mexico and walk in the footsteps of the Mogollon culture and tour the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Take your group to visit the deserted shelter carved out of the surface of the New Mexico Cliffs of Dweller Creek by different nomadic groups over thousands of years that was eventually settled by the Mogollon in the late 1200s. Now groups can take hiking tours of the homes of the people of ancient societies.
From the Algonquian and Iroquoian indigenous groups to colonial times and most notably the Civil War, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has seen thousands of years of American history come through the Shenandoah Valley. Although its claim to fame is the John Brown’s Raid of 1859, immortalized by Frederick Douglass’s 1881 address, the land on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and adjacent to Washington, D.C., has been a site for indigenous people, America’s forefathers and a pivotal location for the Underground Railroad and the Freedman’s Bureau. Storer College was the first school to offer higher education to people of color and was established in Harpers Ferry.
The historic Lower Town offers tours through several important sites of American history and the museums founded in commemoration. The John Brown Museum, Industry Museum and Civil War Museum all educate visitors on the complicated and significant history of the region. Groups can also take advantage of the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains with the park’s 20 miles of hiking trails to historic overlooks such as Maryland Heights or Murphy-Chambers Farm.
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The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum is the home to the Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples exhibit featuring the relics of the indigenous tribes of North Dakota with some artifacts dating back to over 13,000 years ago. Artifacts from the everyday lives of these civilizations are on display for groups tours and facility rentals. The Northern Lights Atrium is the most desired facility rental of the museum with a unique design that mirrors the dynamic history of North Dakota. The 16,000 sq. ft. of steel and glass square structure seats 90 guests and represents both an earthlodge and a grain bin as a tribute to North Dakota’s culture. A backlit screen enhances the clear night sky and presents lighting similar to the Northern lights for events.
As the site of the catalyst towards the American Revolution, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museums is as steeped in American history as one can get (pun intended.) Frozen in its 18th century colonial era, the museum offers a historical education, a sweeping city scape of Boston along Fort Point Channel in the Boston Harbor and several choices for meeting professionals. Smaller more intimate business meetings can take place in Abigail’s Tea Room and Terrace with a capacity of 100 seated guests or planners can choose to rent out Griffin’s Wharf as well to bring the capacity to 250 standing guests. If attendees are ready to dive head into this colonial time machine, Revelry on Griffin’s Wharf is a fully immersive experience for up to 200 attendees with performers recreating a bustling Boston wharf in the 18th century including the iconic tossing of the East India tea into the harbor.
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You want to meet the inhabitants of America before there were even humans? Head to Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas, to see exhibits of the fossilized ancient sea creatures of the plains and the area’s ancient dinosaurs including one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus-rex skeletons in America. Other parts of the museum feature artifacts from ancient civilizations around the world, such as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
All-Day museum rental will allow planners to rent out the banquet space, the board room and provide free access to the museum for up to 200 attendees. Other partial buyouts are also available, as well as additional services such as museum access prior to an event rental for guests and statues from the museum’s ancient art collection as center pieces for tables.