The facility rental rate includes special event sales manager, building supervisor, security guards, janitor, room-prep and maintenance staff. The Houston Museum of Natural Science does not include tables, chairs, linens or other equipment. Arrangements for such equipment must be handled by the client through the caterer.
Special Events Sales Manager
A special events manager will be present on the day of the event to manage set-up activities. All activities relating to an event must be coordinated through HMNS special events staff. HMNS building manager and security will oversee breakdown and load-out.
To ensure the success of your event, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has exclusive caterers who are trained in the policies and procedures of the Museum. At the Houston Museum of Natural Science (main location), these include A Fare Extraordinaire, Abuso Catering, City Kitchen Catering, Melange Catering, Cafe Natalie, and Acute Catering. At the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land, these include all of the above, as well as Cafe Natalie and Safari Texas. These exclusive caterers are responsible for providing all personnel, materials, and supplies required in the preparation of food and beverage for any event held at HMNS. All of our exclusive caterers have provided certificates of insurance and are fully licensed by the city and state.
City Kitchen Catering, one of our exclusive caterers, is contracted to serve alcoholic beverages at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. They hold the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license for the Museum. Alcoholic beverage service is only permitted for evening events. By law, no outside liquor may be brought onto the premises.
Outside vendors for décor and other event needs are permitted. Arrangements for such vendors and associated costs must be handled by the client through the caterer. HMNS special events staff must be informed of all vendors for the event and must have a certificate of insurance on file for those vendors.
All plans for decorations and activities must be pre-approved by HMNS special events staff. Fog machines, smoke, helium balloons, open flames and any décor attached to HMNS collections are absolutely prohibited. Only free-standing décor is allowed. Banners located in the Grand Hall advertising exhibition openings will not be removed and additional banners will not be permitted. Anything requiring set-up or display outside of HMNS properties requires the City of Houston’s approval. Client is responsible for contacting Rick Dewees at Rick.Dewees@cityofhouston.net or (713) 284-8555 for making such arrangements.
Corporations: Houston Museum of Natural Science requires that all corporate clients show proof of full liability insurance and property liability insurance in an amount no less than $1 million combined single limits for the duration of the event. Special events insurance is also accepted.
Individuals: Individual clients are required to show proof of full liability insurance and property liability insurance in an amount no less than $1 million combined single limits for the duration of the event. If you do not have personal liability insurance, proof of homeowners or renters insurance (that shows you are protected outside of residence) or special events insurance may be accepted.
Special Event Booking Policies
All facilities, with the exceptions of the lower level conference room and classrooms, are available for rental at least one hour after the Museum is closed to the general public. To secure an event date, a signed contract, certificate of insurance, and deposit must be received at least two weeks prior to an event date. A date can be placed on a temporary hold for a maximum of one week. If the items stated above have not been received by HMNS special events staff, then the hold is released. Once a date is secured, the client is required to pay the balance of the facility rental to HMNS no later than 10 days prior to the event. If balance is not received, set-up cannot begin. The client is required to handle all costs and arrangements for the event. The client is also responsible for providing HMNS special events staff with a guaranteed guest count three days prior to the event. No significant increase in the number of attendees, or any material aspect of the event can be changed less than 30 days prior to the event. Failure to comply with the above conditions may nullify the agreement. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has the right to rent out other HMNS locations during a scheduled event.
Planning and Set-Up
Evening event set-up may not begin until 2 hours before the event. If extensive or unusual set-up is required, it must not interfere with the Museum activities and must be arranged with HMNS special events staff. An additional charge may be necessary. A walk-through with HMNS special events staff and client must occur no later than one week before the event to finalize all arrangements. The Houston Museum of Natural Science does not provide staff to move props, musical instruments, staging, etc.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science security will be on site for set-up, activities and breakdown. The number of guards required for any event is decided by HMNS special events staff. HMNS special events staff must be notified of any private security.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science offers complimentary self-parking in its parking garage. The HMNS parking garage can also be used for valet parking. If valet service uses parking garage for parking, client will be charged $5 per car. An HPD officer is required to handle traffic control anytime a valet service is used. Client is responsible for arrangements and costs.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a great source for unique gifts. The HMNS special events staff will be happy to assist you in choosing a gift for your guests. Sufficient time must be allowed for selection, special orders and processing.
HMNS loading dock is located on Hermann Drive between Caroline and San Jacinto. One week prior to the event, a loading dock schedule must be established with the client’s suppliers and HMNS special events staff. Rentals must be delivered the day of the event and picked up immediately following the event.
Delivery and Shipping Materials
For delivery of materials (e.g. handout literature), HMNS special events staff is to be informed in advance and materials must be clearly marked to the attention of HMNS special events staff. All deliveries must be made the day of the event. After items have been delivered to the Museum, the client is responsible for transporting their items within the Museum. The Houston Museum of Natural Science does not have any storage facilities and is not responsible for any materials left after the event.
General Building Policies
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a smoke-free facility. The Museum is closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. HMNS special events staff reserves the right to approve or disapprove any entertainment offered at a special event to ensure that the nature of the gathering is consistent with the Museum’s mission. The name and type of entertainment must be provided to the HMNS special events staff two weeks before an event. The Museum prohibits the following: firearms, live animals, fog, smoke, helium balloons and open flames. The HMNS special events staff must approve any equipment hung from any surfaces. Events may not create any hazard or impose undue hardship to the Museum and its collections, exhibits, facilities, staff or visitors. Events must be in agreement with established Museum regulations and not interfere with Museum functions.