Why did you choose the Science Museum?
We chose the Science Museum as the impressive venue and spaces on offer were fitting for the celebratory nature of the event; visiting and dining in the museum out-of-hours would offer our guests a unique and atmospheric experience.
We had previously held a successful event at the museum and knew we would be in good hands.
Please describe the brief of the event, when did it take place? Who was the event for? How many people? What were the core goals and objectives?
Our event took place on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 and we were joined by 300 guests for a drinks reception and dinner. The event marked 10 years since the launch of the Royal Society of Biology and brought together the sector in celebration of the achievements of the Society, biology and the wider biosciences community over the last decade.
The guest of honour was Sir David Attenborough Hon FRSB, who was presented with our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his support of the Society and as an advocate for the natural world.
Other speakers included Sir Paul Nurse Hon FRSB, the Society’s president Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow FRSB, Amanda Solloway MP and director of the Science Museum Sir Ian Blatchford; each of whom spoke passionately about their support for the biosciences community and of the importance of the Royal Society of Biology as the single unified voice for biology.
The event was also an opportunity to fundraise for the Society, with tickets being bought by both members and non-members, as well as corporate organisations who sponsored tables.
Which spaces at the museum did you use as part of the event and how did they enhance the experience for your guests?
The drinks reception was held in the Energy Hall, which kept our guests intrigued by the exhibitions on display. We were able to make good use of the counters in the foyer for registering guests on arrival and the main counter in the Energy Hall was used as a raffle ticket selling station.
The screens were great for displaying our exciting raffle prizes and, later, the lucky winners.
The Smith Centre was used as our VIP reception room which allowed these guests to arrive and socialise comfortably and within a more intimate setting.
The Exploring Space gallery was a wonderful exhibition for guests to walk through into dinner and many guests enjoyed taking photographs here. The screens enabled us to display seating plans so that guests were able to see this in advance.
The dinner was held in the magnificent Making the Modern World gallery which thoroughly enhanced our guest experience due to the numerous displays of varying heights and sizes which our guests could explore between courses and speeches.
The room was very atmospheric and provided a unique dinner setting.
What happened throughout the event?
The event consisted of a reception with drinks and canapes for guests to enjoy, along with the chance to purchase fundraising raffle tickets, sold by Royal Society of Biology staff.
Following a welcome speech at the reception, guests moved through to dinner, where they enjoyed a three-course meal. Between courses, speakers presented the prestigious President’s Medals to the Society’s previous two presidents for their dedicated work for the Society, and our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Sir David.
At the end of the evening, the raffle prize winners were displayed on the screens in the Energy Hall where prizes could also be claimed.
The event was also filmed by a crew from ITN Productions. Interviews with VIPs were conducted in the Smith Centre, including an interview with Sir David, and vox pops were filmed in the main foyer.
Please give details of the logistics of running the event
Operational logistics were managed successfully by the Royal Society of Biology events team and staff helpers in partnership with the Science Museum staff.
Regular communication and in-person meetings with the museum, catering and AV teams allowed for a well-planned and organised event. All these key contacts were also present on the day to make any changes, answer queries and to ensure the event ran smoothly. Our dedicated Science Museum event executive was very accommodating, responsive and hands-on throughout the process of planning and running the event.
Security staff from the Science Museum were present throughout the venue, with further museum staff on hand to help where needed.
Who were your catering and AV partners?
AV: Event Concept Caterers: Seasoned
How did the setting of the Science Museum contribute to the overall feel and purpose of the event?
As a charitable organisation dedicated to the life sciences, the museum shares our core values, and this undoubtedly added to the feel of the event. The purpose of the event was to raise funds to help us continue our essential work and to celebrate the bio-sciences, which is of course one of the Science Museum’s goals and specialities.
What feedback did you receive from the guests?
Our guests provided extremely positive feedback on a memorable evening where they thoroughly enjoyed the venue, ambience, food, speeches and the company.
Thank you to the Science Museum for hosting the pinnacle event of our anniversary year and we very much look forward to working together again in the future.