Mix Picks: Private Museums

Private museums make a good venue for a corporate function. Below is a round up of four such places in the region, each with its own brand of quirk or class, which can help set the specific tone you want to achieve for your event.


MONA – Museum of Old and New Art

Tasmania, Australia

What’s in it? Collections of ancient and contemporary art works owned by professional gamer David Walsh. The largest private museum in Australia houses pieces that range from ancient Greek artefacts to provocative and explicit sculptures and photographs, whose recurring themes are sex and death. Apart from the unique – and bizarre – collection, MONA is also interesting for its architecture. Guests descend down, far below ground level to Basements 1 and 2 to see the works on display. The dim halls and dramatic lighting give it a somewhat mysterious feel that all play into the experience. The facility also has a library, bar and cinema on Basement 3 and a café on the ground floor.

Venue space: Within the museum complex are two function rooms for small- to medium-sized meetings. F&B outlets in the museum complex such as Wine Bar, Museum Café and The Source restaurant can also be booked for events. There are also private venues, such as the Tasting Room and Barrel Room as well as a lounge area called the Organ Room, which offer space for corporate function. Another option is a cinema with an eight-metre screen and an outdoor plaza. 

Group size: From 10 to 500, depending on the location and setup.

Contact: www.mona.net.au

Image from Moorilla Gallery


Ayala Museum

Makati City, The Philippines

What’s in it? Sixty dioramas that narrate the archipelago’s history, miniature handcrafted ship models that sailed the Philippine seas and exhibits featuring a century’s worth of art by pioneering Filipino artists, as well as pre-colonial artefacts that include textiles, ceramics and gold. The museum is a project by the Ayala Foundation. it is a brainchild of the late artist Fernando Zobel de Ayala y Montejo, whose works are also included in the exhibit, alongside paintings by renowned masters Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Damian Domingo. Special collections of traditional Filipino costumes as well as Chinese ceramics are also featured.

Any room for events? Several venues are available to corporate groups: the Museum Lobby overlooking a Zen garden works well for cocktail receptions, product launches and banquet dinners; an open-air plaza with a water fountain centrepiece, and three meeting rooms. 

Group size: The lobby accommodates 100 to 250 people and the Museum Plaza welcomes 80 to 150; while the Luna and Amorsolo meeting rooms seat 20 to 40, and the Zobel room seats 20. 

Contact: www.ayalamuseum.org


MINT (Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys) Museum of Toys


What’s in it? Over 50,000 toys from more than 40 countries, valued at over US$5 million collected by a private Singaporean citizen Chang Yang Fa. These include some rare and vintage pieces, as well as various other childhood memorabilia displayed throughout the five-storey building. The museum is known as the first purpose-built facility for the showcase of toys. Visitors may be hit with a sense of nostalgia over the figurines of Tintin, Popeye and Betty Boop, to name a few. After a tour through the aisles, guests will want to try Mr Punch Restaurant and Winebar on the top floor, whose walls are lined with some 300 vintage enamel and tin advertising signs. The restaurant also connects to a rooftop venue. 

Any room for events? There is a dedicated function area on Level 3, which be booked for corporate functions, workshops, product launches and events. The venue may be booked only after 6.30pm.

Group size: Up to 60 for the function room and 100 for the rooftop bar.

Contact: www.emint.com


Southward Car Museum

Paraparaumu, New Zealand

What’s in it? The largest known car collection in the Southern hemisphere with over 400 vintage and classic automobiles, as well as other exhibits featuring aircraft, bicycles, vintages tools and automobile memorabilia. It belongs to the late Sir Len Southward, a car collector and founder of Atlas Specialty Metals (previously Southward Engineering Company). Must-see pieces include the gull-winged Mercedes Benz, a 1950 Cadillac “Gangster Special” previously owned by Mickey Cohen and an 1895 Benz Velo. The museum, which started with a Model T Ford bought in 1956, opened to the public in December 1979, covering an area that spans six hectares. A walking path by a lake nearby gives the place a scenic touch.

Any room for events? Conference facilities on-site, aside from the museum itself, include a purpose-built auditorium and two function rooms. The museum also has a dedicated staff and in-house caterers to assist in event planning.

Group size: Up to 450 people.

Contact: www.southwardcarmuseum.com

Johna Baylon


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