MIT 150 Exhibit to Celebrate Institute's 150th Birthday
MIT 150 will be a major exhibit celebrating the Institute's 150th birthday in 2011. What makes it particularly cool is that the Museum is making a determined effort to have the entire MIT community nominate and comment on the artifacts for the exhibit.
We don't know of any other major museum exhibit that has been created this way. Highlighting what makes the Institute unique, and giving everyone a chance to tell their favorite MIT stories, the project also should function as a community-building exercise.
Faculty, students, staff, alumni, and anyone else can nominate objects for the exhibit at museum.mit.edu/150. Everyone also can comment on any other artifact, and starting this summer they can help to winnow down to 150 especially fabulous artifacts that will be displayed at the Museum starting in early 2011.
Some early nominations already are in. For instance, David Mindell (faculty director for the overall 150th celebrations) nominated the Differential Analyzer, MIT's first computer, built by Vannevar Bush and his students in the 1930s. Sherry Turkle suggested the LOGO Turtle, the first robot that employed the LOGO programming language, built at the Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1970. Walter Lewin proposed OpenCourseware. And several folks have brought up hacks, especially the police cruiser that appeared on the Dome.
MIT 150 EXHIBIT BACKGROUNDER
Pick Your Favorite Piece of MIT History for 150th Anniversary Exhibit at the MIT Museum
As the Institute lays the groundwork for celebrating its 150th birthday in 2011, the MIT Museum is developing an innovative anniversary exhibit. The extended MIT community is invited to participate in this unique celebration of the Institute's important history.
* Faculty, students, staff, alumni and all other interested parties can nominate historical or current artifacts for display in the MIT 150 exhibit. People, places, or things may be nominated to illustrate the Institute's history, culture, and contributions to society.
* Individuals may also act as "do-it-yourself" museum curators and comment on other objects nominated for the exhibition.
* The exhibit Website, at museum.mit.edu/150, is the primary way to nominate and comment on objects. The Website will showcase all nominated objects, on an ongoing basis.
* During the summer of 2009, Website visitors may begin voting on their favorite artifacts, helping to narrow down the field for a selection of 150 meaningful and compelling objects that will be displayed at the MIT Museum beginning in early 2011. Additionally, visitors will be able to make suggestions for people inside or outside the Institute who can offer particularly insightful and colorful comments on those 150 artifacts.
* "The MIT 150 exhibit is an opportunity for the entire MIT community to help select objects that represent what the Institute is all about," notes John Durant, director of the MIT Museum. "It aims to capture the Institute's unique qualities – past, present, and future," adds Deborah Douglas, Curator of Science and Technology. "Innovation is not a time-bound concept."