The Closing Gala Dinner at the 25th IAMFA Annual Conference, September 23, 2015 Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago 2015 - September 20-24

In 2015, IAMFA will celebrate its 25th anniversary!

In 1990, George Preston, Director of Physical Plant at the Art Institute of Chicago, first saw the importance of founding a professional organization of museum facilities administrators and, along with colleagues from several other cities, laid the groundwork for the organization we know today. It is a fitting honor to George’s vision that this important milestone will be observed at the 2015 IAMFA Conference in Chicago.

Conference Venues:

Hyatt Regency Chicago

This year's home base for the Conference will be the Hyatt Regency. The Hyatt Regency is ideally located on the south bank of the Chicago River near Lake Michigan. It will allow our delegates and guests easy access to the Loop, as well as to North Michigan Avenue — known as the “Magnificent Mile” — which is Chicago’s famous shopping promenade.

The hotel affords beautiful views of the Chicago River, and such important architectural gems as the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. We have negotiated a block of rooms for the conference. See the  link on the right side to reserve your room.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Hyatt Regency Chicago will be the venue for the Annual Benchmarking and Learning Workshop to be held on Sunday, September 20, 2015.  This workshop is free to participants of the 2014 IAMFA Annual Benchmarking Exercise, but others wishing to attend may register for this workshop as a "Non Benchmarking Participant" on the Payment Page for a fee.  You can learn more about the Annual Benchmarking Exercise on the Benchmarking Page

The Opening Reception will be held on Sunday Evening at Tommy Gun's Garage.  Tommy Gun’s Garage is an audience interactive “speakeasy” which offers a musical comedy review wit da gangsters, da flappers and YOU!!!!! (uh, dat’s audience participation).  Click here to learn more about Tommy Gun's Garage.

Monday, September 21, 2015

On Monday, delegates will spend the day between the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium, and participate in presentations, tours, and a luncheon for both delegates and guests.  Click here for current details for the Education Program and Presentation topics.  

Guests will depart the hotel about 10 AM for the Adler Planetarium.  At noon they will walk next door to the Field Museum for a tour and then lunch with the delegates before visiting the Shedd Aquarium in the afternoon.  Guests will depart back to the hotel about 3 PM.

Monday evening, delegates and guests will dine aboard the Spirit of Chicago. Dinner Cruises sail for 2.5 or 3 hours and will provide spectacular views of Chicago. Watch the Chicago skyline light up from the water and enjoy beautiful sunsets during the summer months. Click Spirit of Chicago above for details.

The Field Museum of Natural History

One of the world’s largest natural history museums, the Field Museum  had its roots in the 1893 world’s fair. Named for the great Chicago merchant and philanthropist Marshall Field, the Museum opened in 1921 in its monumental, purpose-built facility. The Field welcomes as many as two million visitors a year. In addition to its permanent exhibitions and ever-expanding collections, the Field Museum is considered a top-flight research facility with a large scientific staff. The Field’s most famous resident is Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the world. The Field’s facilities staff is noted for their success in maintaining excellent conditions while preserving the Museum’s 1920s grandeur.

The Shedd Aquarium

It has been a few years since an IAMFA Conference has included a visit to an aquarium. The Shedd Aquarium, which opened to the public in 1930, was the most-visited aquarium in the United States in 2005, and is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. The five-million-gallon facility is perhaps best known for the Abbot Oceanarium, which opened in 1991. The Oceanarium is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world, featuring dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions and otters. Among Chicago cultural institutions, the Shedd Aquarium is the clear leader in sustainable and green facilities practices. In 2006, in a ceremony presided over by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Shedd was recognized as Chicago’s greenest museum.

The Adler Planetarium

Like the Shedd Aquarium, America’s first planetarium opened to the public in 1930, projecting the night sky onto an indoor dome with a projector developed by the Carl Zeiss Works. Today, the Adler Planetarium boasts three full-sized auditoriums, a large collection of astronomical artifacts, and an important research facility. The Adler actively brings the stars to the people. One of your correspondents had the privilege of observing both occurrences of the Transit of Venus there, in 2004 and 2012. This phenomenon will not occur again until 2117, over a century from now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On Tuesday, delegates will spend the day at The Museum of Science and Industry, while Guests will visit The Chicago History Museum, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in the morning. Following lunch, Guests will visit the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Tuesday evening Camfil will host everyone for what has become one of the most fun events of the conference...Their Annual Drinks Reception - This year aboard the Chicago's First Lady.  

Chicago's First Lady Cruises is the official cruiseline with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is proud to present the official Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. Named Chicago's #1 Architecture Tour, the river cruise highlights more than 50 architecturally significant buildings and is led by passionate volunteer docents (guides) from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

The Museum of Science and Industry

Like the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry occupies a facility originally constructed for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. The building was the Exhibition’s “Palace of Arts” and is one of the only remaining structures from “the White City.” The museum houses U-505 — one of the only German submarines to survive the Second World War — which was gallantly saved from scuttling by the U.S. Navy in 1944, when it was captured.

Also on display at the Museum is the Apollo 8 capsule: the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. Chicago-area native Jim Lovell was a crew member on the Apollo 8 mission, and went on to command Apollo 13, which was featured in Ron Howard’s 1995 film. It was Lovell who uttered the famous words, “Houston, we have a problem.”

The Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society, was founded in 1856 to study and interpret Chicago's history. The museum explores both Chicago and American history. Exhibitions draw primarily on the museums own collection, which numbers approximately 22 million holdings. Chicago: Crossroads of America is a 16,000 square-foot space that explores the city's development and its relationship to and influence on American history. 

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum focuses on the natural history of the Chicago region and child and adult education. In addition, it has a popular live butterfly house.  Operated by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, it was founded in 1857 by young prominent American naturalists, such as Robert Kennicott and William Stimpson.

In the 1990s, a new home for the museum was constructed nearby. The museum's exhibits today include displays about the ecological history of the Illinois region, a live butterfly house, and a green home demonstration. The butterfly house features more than 200 species of native and exotic butterflies. One of the museum's ongoing scientific efforts is the study, care, and breeding of native butterflies for species population support in the Chicago area. The museum also offers more than 100 educational programs in the natural sciences for adults and children

The Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free 35-acre (14 ha) zoo located in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. The zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. It is also one of a few free admission zoos in the United States. The zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. The zoo's exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totaling about 1,100 animals from some 200 species. Also located in Lincoln Park Zoo is a burr oak tree which dates to 1830, three years before the city was founded.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On Wednesday, delegates will spend the day at The Art Institute of Chicago.  Guests will depart the hotel for the Art Institute about 10 AM for docent led tours, and then will have lunch at the Union League Club of Chicago, a prominent social club in the loop district.  Following lunch the Guests will return to the hotel to prepare for the Wednesday evening Gala Dinner to be held in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute (Black Tie Optional).

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is the second-largest encyclopedic fine art museum in the United States. The museum is situated at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams, which is the point of origin of the fabled Route 66. Located in Grant Park, the Art Institute occupies a two-block area. The Beaux-Arts base building, with its iconic bronze lions, was originally constructed as a lecture hall for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893.

New to IAMFA delegates who attended the conference in 2000 is the Modern Wing, which opened in May 2009. Designed by Renzo Piano, and described by him as a “temple of light,” this new structure occupies a full quarter of the museum’s total plant area, and houses its Modern and Contemporary art collections. This building, with its distinctive use of daylighting and light-harvesting, will be of great interest to our delegates. The building mechanicals are creatively placed below a garden, and employ fan-wall technology air-handling systems.  The Art Institute Modern Wing will be the venue for the Conference Gala Dinner (black tie optional).

In September 2014, the Art Institute learned that it had been named the No. 1 museum in the U.S. and in the world, according to the Travelers Choice awards announced by the travel website, TripAdvisor. With a staff of over 700 employees, the Art Institute is a “people’s favorite” and welcomes 1.4 million visitors a year. It is also known for its devoted membership of 98,000.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

On Thursday, both delegates and guests can attend the optional day of tours in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Harley Davidson Museum and the Milwaukee Public Museum.  This is an optional day, and those wishing to attend on Thursday must register for this separate event on the Payment page. 

The Harley Davidson Museum

The Harley Davidson Museum opened to the public on July 12, 2008, on a 20 acres (81,000 m2) site in the Menomonee Valley.  The museum was built in an historically industrial area of Milwaukee. The museum’s galleries permanent exhibitions spread throughout two floors, in addition to temporary exhibits and the motor company’s archives. The complex also includes a restaurant, café, retail shop, and special event spaces.

Also on display are historic Harley-Davidson items that tell the company's story and history including 10 motorcycles that visitors can sit on.

Along the east side of the upstairs galleries, a series of interconnected galleries exhibit the Harley-Davidson's chronological history. The galleries relate the company's history from its origins in a 10x15-foot wooden shack to its current status as the top U.S. motorcycle manufacturer, producing more than 330,000 bikes each year. The centerpiece of the gallery is "Serial Number One", the oldest known Harley-Davidson in existence, which is encased in glass. The glass enclosure sits within a floor-embedded, illuminated outline of the backyard shed the motor company was founded in.

The Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum was among a half-a-dozen major American museums that were established in the late 19th century.  Although it was officially chartered in 1882, its existence can be traced back to 1851, to the founding of the German-English Academy in Milwaukee.  Construction on the building currently housing MPM was begun in 1960 and completed in 1962. 

Permanent exhibits include Africa , Arctic, Asia, Bugs Alive!, European Village, Exploring Life on Earth, Living Oceans, North American Indians, Pacific Islands, Pre-Columbian Americas, The Puelicher Butterfly Wing, A Sense of Wonder, South & Middle America, Streets of Old Milwaukee, Temples, Tells & Tombs, The Third Planet.

The Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum houses more than 35,000 works of art housed on four floors, with works from antiquity to the present. Included in the collection are 15th– to 20th–century European and 17th– to 20th–century American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photographs, and folk and self-taught art. Among the best in the collection are the museum's holding of American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960.

The museum holds one of the largest collections of works by Wisconsin native Georgia O'Keeffe. Other artists represented include Gustav Caillebotte, Nardo di Cione, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Winslow Homer, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Robert Gober, and Andy Warhol.

Please note that we have a few surprises this year that we don't want you to miss. Mark your Diary/Calendar so you don't miss this conference!


Come see where IAMFA was born!

IAMFA's 25th Annual Conference in Chicago, USA

Click image below for a current schedule of events for delegates and guests

The Conference Hotel - Hyatt Regency Chicago

Click Here to reserve your room from a negotiated room block.  Note that the room block ends on September 1st, and rooms booked after that date will revert to the normal room rates.

Conference Registration is open now. Visit the Payments page to register.  

Note that conference registrations end on September 1st.  You will not be able to register for the conference after September 1st.


Tommy Gun's Garage


The Spirit of Chicago

The Field Museum of Natural History


The Shedd Aquarium


The Adler Planetarium

Chicago's First Lady


The Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago History Museum


The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum


The Lincoln Park Zoo

 The Art Institute of Chicago


  The Harley Davidson Museum


The Milwaukee Public Museum


The Milwaukee Art Museum