Did you know that the only building constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition’s “White City” that is still at the site is the Museum of Science and Industry?! I learned this fun fact and more during the museum’s 37th Annual Columbian Ball that was held on Saturday October 7 at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. This is one of my favorite events to cover during fall gala season as I am always fascinated by how they combine the love and mission of science with fun and fundraising.
This year’s Columbian Ball was, as the millennials say, litAF! The evening began with cocktail reception in the museum entry hall where guests mingled and sipped on libations courtesy of Breakthru beverage group before being ushered up the grand escalator to the historic Rotunda for dinner where about 500 guests, some seated underneath the Transportation Gallery with planes floating overhead, some steps away from the world’s only 40-foot tornado in Science Storms, enjoyed a three course meal. Guests even had the opportunity to upgrade their dinner wine selection, with the reserve wine list that included Trefthen, Veuve Gold label or Chateau de Meursault Charmes Premier Cruh (super fancy ‘spensive wines) at an additional cost.
Chicago native LaRoyce Hawkins who stars on NBC’s hit show “Chicago P.D.” was on emcee duty for the evening and he was turnt and hilarious! Through the night he injected some LaRoyce-isms into the program and led the live donation portion where more money was raised, adding to the fundraising total of more than $2 million, which will go towards funding the Museum’s exhibits, experiences and educational programs.
With an event where individual tickets starts at $750, just serving dinner and wine and sending guests home won’t cut it. Once the formal presentation, which included a Q&A between MSI President David Mosena and Science Achievers graduates siblings Goldene Brown and Cornelius Brown III as well as remarks from the Columbian Ball co-chairs Christine and Matthew Boler (President/CEO, and Chairman of the Board, The Boler Company Inc) and Julie and David Fisher (CEO of Enova International) was done, it was time to really have fun and MSI had a host of activities on hand.
Patricia and David Mosena, Julie and David Fisher, Christine and Matthew Boler
One of the most sought after DJs in the world and a fixture at high-profile fashion and lifestyle events for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Calvin Klein, the famous DJ Ruckus (who is engaged/married to model Shanina Shaik) along with Hall of Fame RUN DMC OG Rev Run gave guests an unforgettable show (if you follow SociaLifeChicago on snapchat or insta story you would’ve seen it in real time).
Playing everything from today’s top 40, to Run DMC hits and more, guests loved it and did not leave the dance floor for the little over one hour set. DJ E-Six took over after that. For those that were not interested in dancing, some chilled in the entry hall transformed into lounge, some explored MSI’s popular temporary exhibitions Robot Revolution and Brick by Brick while some Columbian ball guests interacted with artist Philip Scott’s mural illustration of the White City. What’s a gala at a science and industry museum without tech? Guests had the chance to try on the latest wearable technology in the Tech Lounge; I even rocked the Snap spectacle glasses for a portion of the night.
Alrene and Vineet D’Souza
MSI’s Columbian Ball attracts a who’s who in Chicago’s business, corporate and civic circle with a diverse guest list compared to many of the other major civic instuttions in the city.
Jeffrey McCarthy, David Mosena, Walter Massey
Evie Begy, Christine Begy, Chris Begy, Alexa Begy
Smita Shah, Maarten de Jeu
One suggestion I would make as the organization looks to position itself in front of the next gen, would be, if they are able to snag another headline duo or DJ for their afterparty in coming years, to consider offering a lower priced ticket ($150) for younger (under 40) Chicagoans that may want to attend and know more about the museum and its mission and rub shoulders with the corporate execs in attendance.
Zach Tankersley, Chelsea Marx
Terrance Williams and Elise George
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photo credits: Jeff Schear; Alison Neidt-Toonen; Kasumi Chow