A historical venue is a place that is steeped in historical significance, either because it’s where an important event took place, it has architectural relevance, or it’s where an important person lived or died. But that doesn’t mean their usefulness as a special events venue is stuck in the past.
There are many reasons why historical venues can be great special event facilities:
- The décor is already “built in.”
- The historic or unique architectural features of the venue can inspire or reinforce meeting themes.
- By playing off inherent historical elements, planners can use the venues to educate or entertain attendees in an unexpected way.
- They also add something new and fresh to the guest experience — it’s not the traditional venue, so it creates a sense of anticipation.
However, using a historical venue may pose some challenges, namely:
- Electricity — Many historic properties aren’t retrofitted to offer event-ready electrical outlets, much less provide the wattage needed to power professional light and sound equipment, so a generator may be needed.
- Catering — You may have to have food prepared elsewhere prior to the event, and some venues have restrictions on serving alcohol (or just red wine).
- Compliance — These structures predate building codes, elevators, multiple restrooms and ADA requirements, so be sure that the venue will meet your group’s needs, or make the necessary provisions.
- And, most importantly, insurance — The property, and its artwork, may necessitate a specific type and level of insurance, so be sure to find out what kind of coverage your event needs.
In the United States, there is an abundance of historical venues, such as the Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit; the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.; and the Vizcaya in Miami, to name a few. If you’re wondering what’s available in specific destinations, search the National Historical Landmark database; many properties on the registry offer special event rentals.
If you adequately inspect the property, ask questions about the challenges you see and conduct due diligence, holding an event at a historical venue can create an unexpected and memorable experience that will be talked about for years to come.