Fire breathers, flambé cuisine, flaming arches — the Perot Museum of Nature and Science wins the award for best incorporation of its theme, "Ignite," at the 2019 Night at the Museum gala.
About 1,000 guests — including VIPS Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Dallas City Councilman David Blewett, Texas Instruments officials Peter Balyta and Terri West, and philanthropists Sally Hoglund, Margot Perot, Nelda Cain Pickens, Betsey Urschel, and Nancy Cain Marcus — showed up for the red-hot party on November 9. The event served not only as the museum's biggest annual fundraiser, but also a dedication of its newly reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall.
Under the guidance of event chairs Marlene and John Sughrue, and honorary chair Mary McDermott Cook, every floor of the museum lit up with opportunities for exploration, fun, food, and drink.
Upon arrival, gala-goers walked a blue glitter carpet and were welcomed by color-changing illuminated arches projecting simulated fire, lasers, fire eaters, and a neon-lit champagne wall. Throughout the night, they could nibble on delectable, science-inspired inspired cuisine from Wolfgang Puck Catering — from flaming cocktails to blueprint food stations.
A steampunk-style VIP pre-party on the Lower Level greeted the party's biggest patrons with an Inventor’s Workshop, complete with brassy late-19th century décor and colors and a Tilt Brush by Google virtual reality station. Revelers enjoyed the “da Vinci” Negroni ice-sphere cocktails encased in ice and served with a small hammer; a flambéed steak station; and sip-on-a-spoon cocktails topped with gold flakes.
As attendees were transported up the famed “T. rex-calator” to Level 4, they were greeted with “Mechanical Minded” experiences. Cocktails were served from a moving bolt bar, and Asian-inspired small plates came out on a conveyer belt. The “space henge” 360-degree photo booth was a popular stop, as was the famous “shouting paleontologist.”
On Level 3, “A Flash of Inspiration” mixed the visual awe of combustion and heat with midcentury modern pizzazz. It came complete with a crepe station, neuron-fired photo opps, “ignite” hair bar and glitter station, and futuristic body-art station.
One floor below, with a “Constructing the Idea” theme, Level 2 took a more contemporary approach with its roaming robot photo booth, a Rube-Goldberg dessert station, food-aeration station, dry-ice test-tube cocktails, and programmable LEGO robots. This is where partygoers also got a sneak peek of the new Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall, which boasts a massive LED music code sequencer, ChallENGe Lab, three robotic tables, “Awesome Airways” wind-tunnel activity, “North Texas Innovator Timeline,” interactive mechanical art sculpture, and more.
The Museum’s world-exclusive exhibition, Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind, was on display on the Lower Level. The exhibition, which is open through March 22, 2020, showcases fossils of two ancient human relatives — the first time they have ever been displayed together outside of Africa.
To cap off the night, a blazing after party featuring the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra brought down the house until the wee hours. Late-night revelers sipped and noshed on adult milkshakes, chicken schnitzel, and wagyu beef burgers.
Guests spotted having a great time throughout the night included Rob and Jill VanGorden, Evan Beattie, Natalie Beattie, Dillon Cook, Abbey Werner, Aimee and Royce Ramey, Jeremy McCarter, Britni Wood, Kevin Fleck, Hanna Battah, Stacey White, Thomas Surgent, Yatzil Rubio, CJ Lorio, Natlie Lorio, Carolyn Rathjen, and Nicole Small.
Those who missed out on the epic night of fun will want to save the date for next year's Night at the Museum, on Nov. 14, 2020.