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Natural History Museum Kicks Off Year With Dance Party Series

Fischerspooner under the museum's Hayden Planetarium

Photo: © AMNH/R. Mickens

On Friday night, the American Museum of Natural History hosted a sold-out crowd of 1,500 at its first One Step Beyond dance party at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, featuring DJ sets by Fischerspooner and Animal Collective.

Now in its third year, the event series is intended to make use of a night that often saw the halls empty. “The museum is always looking for other ways to utilize the space after hours,” said visitor services senior director Brad Harris. “Fridays aren't typically a big night for external events, and we wanted to do something to bring in a different audience.”

The audience they've drawn has been different at every outing, but there's been a consistent delegation of twenty- and thirtysomething hipsters since the museum partnered with The Fader to promote the series in its second cycle. (The museum originally partnered with event-listing Web site Flavorpill.)

The museum's associate director of audience relations, Luz Montez, produces the event, and outside consultant Lynnel Herrera books the acts. Talent has proven an interesting dilemma for 2010, which already has nine One Step Beyond events on the calendar.

“It just keeps evolving,” said Harris. “This year we picked the second Friday of every month. It works well, so we can plan, promote, and market, but it doesn't let you be more flexible with talent. We may end up changing it up a bit to accommodate different acts we want to host.”

For the first installment this year, though, the strategy seems to be working. The $20 tickets sold out weeks before the event, and doors opened on Friday night to lines down the steps of the Central Park West entrance—which means there could be room to grow.

One of the museum's similar series, albeit for a much younger set, is the sleepover program. Since debuting in December 2006, the overnight family event has grown from crowds of 250 to 450 and now happens 22 times a year.


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