Joanna Furber, events operations executive at London venue the Science Museum, runs us through a day in her working life.
- When did you first start working at the Science Museum and how did you get into working in the events team?
I started working for the museum’s events team in February 2018. I had worked in a Grade II listed venue in Hertfordshire for 2 and half years as the Events Manager there, where I managed private functions, weddings and corporate events. I wanted to expand into a larger venue and work on larger scale events to develop my skill set further and the Science Museum was the perfect place! The team had just revealed the name and launch plans for new space Illuminate when I joined, which really attracted me to the role with all the new event opportunities that the blank canvas space allowed for.
- What do you enjoy most about working in the events sector?
The events industry is so versatile, and each client has their own unique vison for their event. I love the whole process of helping to bring a client’s vision to life – it’s such a proud moment seeing the event doors open and guests journeying through the amazing spaces we have to offer. It really is a such a special experience holding events in the museum!
- What do you enjoy most about being part of the events team at the Science Museum?
The team here is amazing and we really are one family, it makes each day so enjoyable and there really never is a dull day! Since joining the team there has been so much change in the galleries within the museum and it’s fantastic to be able to have an ever-evolving offering of exhibitions, spaces and experiences to offer clients. Our new exhibition, ‘Top Secret’, takes guests on a discovery of codebreaking, ciphers and secret communications from World War I to the present day, and it’s great to see guests so engaged in the incredible journey society has taken with technology!
- Talk us through a typical day on an event.
On the day of an event, the main challenge is working around the museum’s opening hours, as our public visitors are always a priority so it’s key we don’t impact on their experience! My morning starts with logistics from caterer load-ins to any agreed pre-rigging, to make sure it’s complete before the museum opens at 10am. I’ll then catch up with the Duty Manager and Security team to go through the event plan and make sure everyone’s fully prepped.
Once the client arrives it’s a case of walking through the event journey to make sure they’re happy, and suppliers arrive to begin setup as soon as the museum closes at 6pm.
The setup is by far my favourite part, witnessing our expert suppliers completely transforming our spaces in such a short period of time! After that, seeing the look on guests’ faces as they arrive is an amazing feeling.
- What is your favourite gallery / galleries to manage an event in?
My favourite gallery in the museum is Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery; clients have so much fun in this interactive space and it works perfectly as a drinks reception space before going to Flight gallery for dinner. My goal is to host an intimate dinner on our orrery, it truly is a magical experience for guests and would be so special to feel as if you were dining under the stars!
- What has been your favourite event to manage to date?
I managed an event recently for a leading sports brand who were launching a product in Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery. It was amazing how they used the reactive elements of their new product to incorporate into the event space and build, from using our museum explainers to show chemical demonstrations at our Chemistry Bar, to working with our AV supplier to design bespoke add-ons to our exhibits as well as using every area of the space to tie in with the product.
- What advice would you give someone looking to get into the events management industry?
My main advice for anyone trying to get into the events industry is get as much experience in as many fields as possible. The events industry is so vast with so many different opportunities and avenues to get into, so it’s key to try and experience it as much as you can before you fix on one part of it. The experience gives you the opportunity to get to know how events can run but also it will give you the opportunity to create contacts within the industry, which is invaluable to help you to progress in a career within the events sector!