How We Team Build With Our Own Staff: A Philly Retreat!

Museum Hack News
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Museum Hack News November 12, 2020 How We Team Build With Our Own Staff: A Philly Retreat!

It’s no secret: we think team building is awesome. 

We love helping companies plan the perfect event: something that fits with their corporate culture that involves company values, interests, and goals, while still bringing employees together in a super fun way.

Sometimes, though, we forget that it’s just as important for our team to connect with each other. Recently, we realized our company was well overdue for some team building and bonding of our own, so we planned a staff retreat to Philadelphia to remind ourselves why we love what we do and to make sure we’re living the team building life. 

Museum Hack staff enjoying Philly!
Museum Hack staff enjoying Philly!

Bringing The Amazing Race To Company Team Building 

The retreat began amid a cloud of mystery. Only a few staff members knew what waited for them when the team met in Madison Square Park on the first morning of the retreat. The night before, the group received a text message with a few covert details: we split our group into teams, assigned team leads, and revealed the morning’s meeting spot. Most showed up with a backpack, knowing they’d be heading out of town for a few days, but unsure as to where they’d be going and what they’d be doing. 

The mystery continued when the smaller teams were handed their first clue. An Amazing-Race-style competition through the streets of New York was underway!

Our retreat organizers had scoured Madison Square Park and its surrounding areas to find the perfect locations for clues that would help guide staff to the final meeting point. Teams were instructed to find a place that promotes full-time wellness; the answer was a nearby 24 Hour Fitness, whose own staff members were in on the competition. As our teams solved their first clue and went into the gym, fitness instructions had them do push-ups or jumping jacks to earn their next clue. 

We even incorporated clues into the scavenger hunt that align with our business goals. For example, TripAdvisor reviews are paramount to our success, so the next clue was worded in such a way that required teams to check TripAdvisor for the answer. Once they figured out where to go next, their third and final clue brought the groups to Penn Station.

Our staff was working in three different teams, so we’d found three different busses that left Penn Station heading to Philadelphia within 15 minutes of each other. Whichever team met the retreat organizer at Penn Station first earned the first bus ticket with the ultimate goal of meeting our Sales Director at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The first team to check in with Mark at the museum was crowned champion of the Museum Hack Amazing Race!

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Museum Hack team building experience without photo challenges along the way. We even incorporated our awesome remote team and guides in other cities into the hunt, which each team carrying around flat stanleys with a picture of a staff member not local to NYC. 

Our non-NYC employees hanging with the team!
Our non-NYC employees hanging with the team!

Once the groups arrived at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, they took a quick food break before heading in to explore the museum’s galleries. Staff members searched for a piece of art that made their hearts beat and had 90 minutes to research the object and present it to the group, Museum-Hack-style. 

From there, we traveled to a huge house we’d rented out in the city where the group would spend the next two nights before heading home to NYC. 

A Day of Exploring, Storytelling, and Breakfast Made By The CEO

Monday morning got off to an awesome start when our founder and CEO, Nick Gray, cooked breakfast for the group before teams left the house to explore various museums across Philly. 

After a morning in the museum, our team met up as a whole for a picnic lunch in Sister City Park before enjoying a Pig Iron workshop in the afternoon. During the workshop, Pig Iron taught us their signature storytelling tips and tricks before we participated in awesome theater and improv exercises. 

Over a fabulous team dinner that night, we talked company and personal growth. The team chatted about the top three things they felt would be most important to them as they grow within the company before we opened up a discussion about the company’s values and where the business is headed in the future. 

A Hack-a-Thon To Promote Creativity and New Ideas

After another incredible breakfast prepared by Chef Nick, the group began the final morning of the retreat with a tour of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

After the tour and a quick lunch, our team began a Hack-a-Thon. 

We split the team into smaller groups, each tasked with working on a new creative project. One group worked on redesigning our VIP Night Tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, another worked on creating a brand-new corporate program, and another came up with ideas for a specialty tour, like our Big Gay Met Tour, Sports and Olympics Tour, or Pokemon Tour. After the brainstorming session, the groups presented their ideas to each other. It was the perfect afternoon to help refresh the group’s creativity and get everyone thinking about new ways to help shape and grow Museum Hack!

After leaving the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the group headed out for drinks and a bite to eat before boarding the bus back to New York City!

Check out some of the awesome photos from the retreat: 


Checking out cool new spaces in Philly.
Checking out cool new spaces in Philly.


Tableau vivants in Philly!
Tableau vivants in Philly!





Kelly as a specimen sample!
Kelly as a specimen sample!





It was a successful company retreat to Philly full of team building, art, training, new ideas, creativity, fun and connecting with coworkers – all of the principles that we bring to every company team building tour we give!

written with 💖 by Carly Hill

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