October Bride-O-File: Erin Weller

Say hello to Erin Weller and Casey Crosbie who celebrated their love with a

romantic, laid back, super-fun, California-style wedding!

Romantic 4Wedding Date – July 19th, 2014

Wedding Size – 215

Ceremony – Rotunda

Cocktails – Grand Foyer

Reception – African Mammal Hall

Romantic 3

How did you meet?

We met working for a non-profit in downtown Los Angeles. Both of us have always had a heart to give to our local communities.  It’s something we care about very deeply, and even tried to integrate into our wedding.

Reception 9

Our ‘centerpieces’ during the reception were actually gift baskets with supplies for the homeless at the shelter where Casey works.

Wedding Party 3

What made you choose the Natural History Museum for your wedding?

The one thing both of us wanted was to make our wedding as creative and interesting as possible. The venue offered a space that is both entertaining and quirky as well as memorable and more than a little awe-inspiring.  What more could you ask for?!

Reception 10

Share some fun details about the event! What made your wedding AMAZING?

There are so many things it’s hard to choose were to start. Our goal was to keep surprising people, especially those who hadn’t been to the museum before.  Luckily, there are so many ways to surprise people here!

Ceremony 4

We held our ceremony in the rotunda. We chose it because it really has the feeling of a sacred space, and because that way we could guide our guests through the garden outside and have them enter the museum that way.

Cocktails 1

After the ceremony we led people through the dinosaur halls to the grand foyer for the cocktail hour. The grand foyer is a really shocking space to see for the first time. Not long after that came the dinosaurs (another surprise), and when the doors opened for the reception the sight of the elephants in the African Mammal hall shocked everyone again.

Dino 1

What was your favorite moment?

Definitely the times when the dinosaurs came out! After the wedding we kept hearing story after story about the dinos.  The T-Rex made its appearance during the cocktail hour. We had warned parents with young children that it would be out, but the children all were less scared than the adults! 

Reception 7

The Triceratops came out during our reception. We had our band play the theme from “The Flintstones” when it appeared, and it actually came out and did a dance with us!

Dino 2

Both dinos also did an impressive number of shenanigans. Two of our favorite stories – the T-Rex stole one of the bridesmaid’s flowers and wouldn’t give it back, and the Triceratops (unsuccessfully) tried to purchase drinks from the bar.

And the details(including but not limited to):

Reception 4.2Caterer:

Reception 1Rentals:

Reception 8 DJ/Music:

  • Gerry Rothchild Band – http://www.grbands.com/
  • We both love the classics – If you want a live band that can play classic rock, blues and jazz, we highly recommend Gerry and his team!

Romantic 5


  • Created by our good friend Sarah Sawyer. She taught herself how to make floral arrangements just for our wedding!

Romantic 2.1


Reception 3

Any advice for future museum wedding couples?

There are lots of fun ways to use what the museum has to offer – We created a ‘scavenger hunt’ with trivia from the various displays, and printed it on the back of our program. It gave our guests another reason to explore the museum during the cocktail hour. They received the answers during the reception.

Wedding Party 4

Anything else you want to share? 

Thanks to everyone at the museum – Courtney, the serving staff, security workers and the puppeteers for everything you did to make our night incredible!

Romantic 1

Are you a past Bride or Groom and would like to be

featured in our monthly Bride-O-File?

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an

email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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July Bride-O-File: ACV2

I am so happy to introduce you to our July profile of Ashley Colleen Vallandingham and Alex Choate Vejnoska (ACV2)!

Alex and Ashley wedding-136

Wedding Date: April 5, 2014

Guest Count: 160

Ceremony Location: North American Mammal Hall

Cocktails: Grand Foyer

Dinner and Dancing: African Mammal Hall

Alex and Ashley wedding-229

How did you meet?

We met the old fashioned way: on the internet. Alex posted a photo of his dog which happened to look exactly like my dog. I told him so, and the rest is recent history.

Alex and Ashley wedding-163

What made you choose the Natural History Museum for your wedding?

Truth be told, I had the venue picked out before the husband. :-) The first time I went to the NHM back in 2007, I stood in front of the dueling t-rex / triceratops and said (mentally) “If the day comes, I’m gonna get married here.”

Alex and Ashley wedding-181

Share some fun details about the event! What made your wedding AMAZING?
Alex and Ashley wedding-677

Where to start?! We had an amazing planner, Kaci Mallat of XOXO Weddings, (xoxowed.com)who made the planning process down right enjoyable and, come the big day, made sure we worried over nothing. So we were luckily set up for success.

Alex and Ashley wedding-302

We wanted our wedding to speak to our personalities. Alex is huge into Legos, so we made the escort “cards” out of Lego mini-figs that we customized to look like each guest (or as close as we could get em). This was a pretty big hit.
Alex and Ashley wedding-542

Since we’re both into video games, so we used that as inspiration for the grand entrance into the reception. Each wedding party couple entered to a different classic video game song with props.  It ended up being super fun; just the right amounts of silliness and nostalgia.

Alex and Ashley wedding-423

I’d like to think the ceremony itself was personalized as well. We wrote our own vows (which we both made it through without sobbing, surprisingly), opted for a wine box ceremony and kept it poignant and a little science-y with readings from the one and only Carl Sagan. We also brought in couches for the wedding party to sit on/around in hopes it’d give the whole thing a less stuffy feel.
Alex and Ashley wedding-465

What was your favorite moment?

My favorite moment was definitely the giant t-rex rampaging through our guests. Mr Hunter Rex, as I believe that’s his name, came roaring out of the elevator immediately after the guests exited the ceremony. Not a single phone stayed in a pocket.

And the details(including but not limited to):

Alex and Ashley wedding-501

  • Caterer: Savor This Moment (www.savourthismoment.com)  Marlene was a joy to work with. Her food is delicious.

Alex and Ashley wedding-332

  •  Rentals: Hollywood Event Rentals (www.hollywoodeventrentals.com) did the lighting. Orchid Party Rentals (orchidpartyrentals.com) did stage and all other rentals.

Alex and Ashley wedding-569

  • DJ/Music: Lee of Hey Mr. DJ. Cannot recommend this dude highly enough. Music was a big concern for us. We needed someone who understood the danceable indie vibe we were going for. Lee nailed it. (Info@HeyMisterDJ.com)

Alex and Ashley wedding-826

  • Photography: Roger of EP Love.(eplove.info) I’m not the most comfortable photo subject. So, going into it, I had a genuine concern 90% the photos would come out with me looking like I was mid-sneeze. My fears were completely put to rest. Roger and his assistant made me feel totally at ease. Not to mention the photos being beautiful and all.
  • Videography (and Photo Booth): Adam of Best Booth Plus LA. Where else can you get an amazing wedding video, a photo booth and a guest book made out of said photo booth pictures?

Alex and Ashley wedding-326

  • Flowers: Bernie of Creative Floral Design. (www.creativefloraldesigns.com) I was planning to do the centerpieces (with the sand and painted succulents and whatnot) myself, but Bernie’s prices were so amazing it felt ridiculous doing it ourselves.

Alex and Ashley wedding-754

  • Favors: In addition to the Lego escort cards, each guest was given a “Hangover Preparedness Kit” full of necessities such as Pringles, granola bars, a disposable toothbrush, Alka-Seltzer, water, etc.

Alex and Ashley wedding-114

  • Dress: Custom made by Dawn at Atelier. (atelierbydawn.blog.com) I tried on not a single dress. I knew exactly what I wanted and, through the beauty of Yelp, found a pro dressmaker who blew me away.

Alex and Ashley wedding-21

  • Shoes: My and my bridesmaids’ shoes all came from ModCloth: the only place I know to find Galaxy print heals. (www.modcloth.com)

Alex and Ashley wedding-36

  • Suit: Ted Baker. I asked Alex if there was anything he wanted to say about his suit. He said “It had lapels.” I’ll add that it looked really good. (www.tedbaker.com)

Alex and Ashley wedding-22

  • Hair: Jen Shedrock. To any bride (or person in general) who is looking for a slightly out-of-the-box color or style, Jen is the girl to see. (www.facebook.com/public/Jen-Shedrock-Beauty)

Alex and Ashley wedding-107

  • Makeup: Angela Tam. I ended up trying out a couple different make up artists. I needed to find someone who understood when I said “dramatic cat eye” I meant just that. Finally I found Angela. She knew what I meant and knew what she was doing. (www.angelatam.com)

Alex and Ashley wedding-726

Any advice for future museum wedding couples?
It was really helpful to work with vendors that had experience with NHM events. Getting married in a museum came with it’s own set of concerns, and, even though the NHM staff was wonderfully helpful, having people on staff who knew the ins and outs was pretty clutch in the planning process.

Alex and Ashley wedding-154

Anything else you want to share?
I think that about covers it! Thanks so much!

Alex and Ashley wedding-522

Are you a past Bride or Groom and would like to be

featured in our monthly Bride-O-File?

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an

email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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June Groom-O-File: Matt and Gabe

For our June profile we decided to take a break from the brides and introduce you to a groom or two!

June Groom-o-files: Matt Seifert and Gabe Grifoni!


Wedding Date: October 19, 2013

Guest Count: 150

Ceremony Location: Grand Foyer

Dinner and Dancing: North American Mammal Hall


How did you meet?

We met at a bar in West Hollywood on a Sunday afternoon while Matt was on vacation (visiting from NY). Gabe asked him out for a coffee date and they started a 9 month long distance relationship until Matt moved to LA.


What made you choose the Natural History Museum for your wedding?

While we were looking for a venue, we came across the museum and the minute that we saw it, we couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be to get married surrounded by dinosaurs! The architecture, gardens and history were a beautiful setting and our guests love being able to roam about the museum and explore.

Share some fun details about the event! What made your wedding AMAZING?


o   We used an old 1950s train suitcase for our cards


o   Topiary trees to hold the place cards


o   We had mini-pies instead of cake


o   We did a full loop around the dinosaur where we got married so we could high five both sides of the aisle after the ceremony was done.


What was your favorite moment?

Being able to get married next to a dinosaur

And the details (including but not limited to):


Caterer: TGIS (Thanks Goodness It’s Sophia) http://www.tgiscatering.com/

Table 11

Rentals: Signature Party Rentals http://www.signatureparty.com/

DJ: Raviv Ullman

No Photos

Photographer: Sloan Photographers; an amazing husband and wife couple: www.sloanphotographers.com


Dress/Suits/Shoes: Men’s Warehouse (Black by Vera Wang): www.menswearhouse.com 


Flowers: Bought from Trader Joe’s and arranged by the grooms. www.traderjoes.com



Topiaries: Party City www.partycity.com

Wedding Planner: Maryam Forutan www.delicate-details.com


Any advice for future museum wedding couples?

Enjoy the day. It really does go so fast. The best advice that we got was to step back a few times during the night and just take it in. All of these people are here to celebrate your love and your union.


Are you a past Bride or Groom and would like to be featured in our monthly Bride-O-File?

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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May Bride-O-File: Carly Paoli

Planning a wedding can be intimidating, even for those who are experienced in event planning. There are so many details and people who need appeasing that the most important day of your life can become overwhelming rather quickly!

This new monthly in-depth profile feature will allow you to get to know a past bride or groom and find out how they coped and managed to turn a wedding at the Natural History Museum into the wedding of their dreams!

Meet our debut Bride-O-File: Carly Paoli!

bridal0081Wedding Date: October 12, 2013

Guest Count: 80

Ceremony Location: East Staircase

Dinner and Dancing: Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Hall of African Mammals

Colors: Navy Blue and Lime Green

bridal0138Why did you choose the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for your Special Day?

I wanted a truly unique wedding, but I guess all brides say that right? Mike and I aren’t religious but we still wanted everything about our wedding to be about us and our love.  We saw about 7 other venues but absolutely fell in love with the museum and the dinosaurs – perfect for our geekdom, my science background and the fact that we believe in evolution/are not religious.

carly.mike0384After selecting the Hall of African Mammals for the reception with the highlight of the room being a diorama of elephants, we decided to have the whole wedding be elephant-themed.  This is also due in part to a personal nickname I gave to Mike when we first dating because he’s an animal lover (and a softie!) and told me that elephants are the only mammal besides humans who mourn when their family members die.  Ever since then, he’s been my elefante!

I_1126First look or wait until ceremony?

First look in the Natural History Museum’s Pollinator Garden (Editor’s Note: In full disclosure, I forgot to ask Carly this question, but this photo was so sweet that I couldn’t resist!)

I_0921Tell us about your ceremony!

I’ve been to a ton of weddings and never really been into the ceremony so didn’t really think too much about it when it came to my wedding.  Little did I know, it turned out to be my favorite part of the whole event. My father died in 2004 so I knew he wouldn’t be there to “give me away.”  When he passed way, it was a really rough time for my brother and I since we were so young (me at 23 and my brother at 20) so it seemed most appropriate to have my brother give me away.  He walked me down the aisle and gave me a hug and it meant so much to me!  What also were so emotional and memorable for me were our vows.  It was important to me to write our own vows in addition to doing the traditional ones.


What were some of the personal touches you added?

Luckily, my brother, who is a graphic design student, was so kind as to create a kissing elephant logo for us which we used on all the paper materials for the wedding.  details0032

Mike is a lover of music and has been singing his whole life (from BA in vocal performance to lead singer of a ska band to many roles in musical theater) so we wanted to be sure to focus on all musical aspects of the wedding!  Since Mike works at a music company, we had a lot of access to talent and used it!  One friend played guitar and ukulele (I came into “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole and we exited to “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros) for our ceremony and another friend played classical guitar at our cocktail reception.

I_0836We could not agree on a first dance song – he wanted “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart and I wanted “Grown Old With You” by Adam Sandler so we had two!  We had a fantastic DJ who played everything we wanted from Say Anything to Tim Minchin, Tegan & Sara and even Mike’s old ska band STU!


What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The budget was definitely difficult.  Getting married in Los Angeles costs major bucks and even though we had a good amount saved we had to pinch pennies and cut things we had originally wanted.  My family pitched to help: my mom acted as the wedding day coordinator and my step dad handmade both my cupcake stand and my memory board to honor passed relatives.

details0105I cut the flower budget by not having any at the ceremony (my backdrop was the LA Rose garden so that helped) and I promised my bridesmaids they wouldn’t have to pay over $100 for their gowns which we made happen by hiring old college friends who are now fashion designers.  We also used friends to supply the ceremony and cocktail reception music.  And I found a caterer who let me supply my own alcohol so that saved a lot too!


Who else helped make this day possible?

details0110Caterer – TGIS (Thanks Goodness It’s Sophia) http://www.tgiscatering.com/

Wedding Photography – Jennifer Roper – http://jenniferroper.com/

details0050Rentals – Signature Party Rentals http://www.signatureparty.com/

DJ – Scott Norris – http://scottnorrisdj.com/

Hair & Makeup for bride – Carla Ross and assistants http://www.morethanaslash.com/

details0016Florist – Brad Austin http://www.bradaustin.com/

CropBride’s Gown – Lazaro http://www.jlmcouture.com/

Bride’s Shoes – Nine West http://www.ninewest.com/

Bride’s Necklace  – Judith Jack http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/judith-jack-double-circle-pendant-necklace/

Bride’s earrings – My grandma’s

Bridesmaid Dresses – designed and handmade by Amren Tulano http://www.amrentulano.com/index.html

Flower girl skirt – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/sassafrasgifts?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Flower girl basket – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/FallenStarCoutureInc

bridal0203Ring bearer vest – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/OliveAndVince

Origami elephants – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/bluepandemonium

Cupcakes – Susie Cakes https://www.susiecakes.com/

details0104Cake Topper – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/LuLuAmour

Placecards – Tradesy Weddings http://www.tradesy.com/weddings/wedding-decorations/lot-of-24-elephant-place-card-holders-indian-weddi-93672

Table numbers – Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/IrisPola

Suits – Men’s Warehouse http://www.menswearhouse.com/

Groomsmens’ suspenders – Hot Topic http://www.hottopic.com/hottopic/Homepage.jsp

Wedding Rings – Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DG81SVI/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Groom’s tie – JC Penny http://www.jcpenney.com/

Custom Napkins – The Stationary Studio http://www.thestationerystudio.com/

All photos featured here are courtesy of Jennifer Roper



Are you a past Bride or Groom and would like to be featured in our monthly Bride-O-File?

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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Hollywood Glamour meets Tar Pits!

Congratulations Sam and Emily!


 These two took their love of working in the film industry and turned it into one amazing wedding!


The ceremony took place on the upper terrace of the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits overlooking the open-air atrium.This is a beautiful space that easily fit their 100 guests. Standing along the railing the couple took their vows as the sun set behind them over the Hollywood Hills. 


Personally, my favorite touch was the film canisters filled with flowers!


After a enjoying cocktails on the western side of the terrace, guests were greeted by a costumed usher and directed into the museum’s Hancock Theater. With 3-D glasses in hand, they settled into watch Sam and Emily, along with their bridal party, star in their own film full of mystery and adventure!


Dinner took place on the west side of the museum gallery which can seat up to 250 for dinner. 


The fossils were lit in an array of blues and greens which complimented our bright yellow dire wolf wall nicely!


Table centerpieces and the photobooth continued the Hollywood theme with lanterns and costumes fashioned after all the characters in the 3-D film!



 Russell Gearhart Photographyprovided these stunning images of the event. You can see more of his work at http://www.gearhartphoto.com/ Brian Armstrong was the wedding planner who helped makes Sam and Emily’s dream wedding come true. You can contact him at williamweddings.com   


Thinking about hosting an event at the Page Museum, Hancock Park or the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles? Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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A Girl, A Guy and a Unity Volcano (Yep, you heard right!)

Sepia OBP

So in case you hadn’t heard, 2013 marks the museum’s 100th birthday and the opening of our beautiful Otis Booth Pavilion. So when Shannon and Aaron decided to hold their ceremony in the pavilion, we couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Ceremomy color

The top level of the pavilion can hold up to 160 guests for a ceremony. The wedding party made their entrance across the bridge from the garden. The ceremony held lots of personal touches including a 8ft tall enclosure for their unity volcano!


The couple made good use of the museum for their photos. After all, what’s a wedding with out a trip to the Dino Lab…

Dino Lab

… or the Ralph M Parsons Discovery Center…


… or the marsh!


And after all that waking, the bride needed a rest and we got a chance to see the sparkly T-Rex heels!


Yes, potential brides, I said sparkly t-Rex heels!

close heel


After the ceremony and cocktails guests headed into the Mr and Mrs Samuel Oschin  and Family Hall of African Mammals for an amazing dinner prepared by the folks at Contemporary Catering. Station were set up and included some tasty treats such as a grilled cheese station and Pho.


The bride and groom were seated in front of the Lowland Gorilla and the best man kept his composure while giving his speech under the watchful eye of an Okapi!

best man

Centerpiece flowers supported chalkboard signs showing the chemical compounds of some of the couple’s favorite things.


A beautiful dessert and coffee station invited the guests for some tasty treats after dinner!

cake cutting

And, of course, the dinosaur theme continued throughout the evening!


A big thank you to Laura, Megan and everyone at Rebel Belle Weddings who pulled this event together.  Seriously, these folks are amazing and I encourage you to head over to http://rebelbelleweddings.com/ and take a look at their work. Thanks again for another unique and super-fun wedding Laura!

The amazing food came from Nathaniel and Co. over at Contemporary Catering. It’s always a pleasure to work with these folks. They can be reached at 310-558-8190 or http://www.contemporarycatering.com.

Twig and Twine arranged the gorgeous floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception ad DJ Pasha was amazing as always, keeping the music going throughout the evening. they can be found at http://www.twigandtwinedesign.com and http://djpasha-ent.com/#/home respectively.

And a huge thank you to Ryan Williams for these AMAZING photos! Please head over to his website at http://www.rawtography.com/ and take a look at his work, you will be blown away!


And a huge thank you to Shannon and Aaron for choosing to spend your special day with us! I love that “unity volcano” and “sparkly T-Rex heels” are now common phrases around here!

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles? Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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Happy 100 Years NHM!

On June 8 the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County celebrated its Centennial Birthday! And what birthday is complete without a birthday party?

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

As party guests arrived, they were shuttled through our stunning new Nature Gardens in open-air tour buses and dropped off in the East Gardens for cocktails.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

Curators were stationed throughout with pieces from their collection to entice guests to stop and chat while the performance artists were on hand to entertain.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

After cocktails, guests were brought into the Foyer and Mammals Halls for dinner.  The halls were transformed into dining areas complete with hanging terrariums, giant cutouts and nature-themed centerpieces full of lush succulents.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

The meal was created and prepared by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal Restaurant.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

After dinner, guests were ushered out to the After Party in our Nature Gardens and took special reserved seats on top of the car park to watch the unveiling of the new Otis Booth Pavilion.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

Starting the evening cloaked in mystery, a show was projected right on the side of the pavilion.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

After featuring photos chronicling the history of the museum alongside with commentary and memories from trustees, celebrities, employees and other friends of the museum, the new addition was finally unveiled!

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

The remainder of the evening was spent enjoying the brand new Nature Lab along and exploring the gardens with the sounds of a DJ spinning in the background. Treats and beverages were provided by Animal Restaurant ,The Butter End Cakery, Frosted Cupcakery, Semi Sweet Bakery, Magnolia Bakery, Smog City Brewing Co, The Brewery at Abigaile Strand , Brewing Co, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Icelandic Glacier, Rosenthal Wines, and E&J Gallo Winery.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

The Grand Centennial Celebration was presented by JP Morgan.  Event production and design by Production Elements and their production partners Radar Creative, Classic Party Rentals, ShowPro, Delicate Productions Inc, La Petite Gardenia, and Z Valet.

NHM 100th Anniversary Gala

Are looking for a venue for a special celebration? Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an email at specialevents@nhm.org and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!

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