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Press Release

December 3, 2010

The MIT 150 Exhibition
January 8, 2011 – December 31, 2011

MIT Community Celebration, January 7; 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Public Program: January 14, 2011: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

MIT car ArthurGanson MIT machine

On January 8, 2011, The MIT Museum will open the new Thomas Peterson í57 Gallery with a fascinating exhibition highlighting 150 years of the rich history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As MIT enters this anniversary year, a wide range of events, exhibitions, symposia and open houses have been planned to celebrate MITís contributions to the world. The MIT 150 Exhibition, the most expansive exhibition ever developed by the MIT Museum, will kick off the anniversary celebration for the MIT community on January 7 at 3:00 p.m. (download Exhibition Logo and other images here)

First of its Kind

The MIT 150 Exhibition is the first of its kind at the MIT Museum to be curated with the aid of the "collective intelligence" of the MIT community. The collaborative process in which nominations were sought, and votes tallied, yielded unexpected insights and ideas that spoke to the founding presidentís vision of getting your hands dirty in the pursuit of truth. As MITís first president, William Barton Rogers believed that teaching science should be a hands-on proposition, and, because of that revolutionary idea, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been able to grow and thrive throughout three centuries. The MIT Museum is proud to open the MIT 150 celebration with this unique exhibition made up of stories and objects that members of the MIT community helped to select, collect and make available to the public, many for the first time.

MITís Impact

Few educational communities have had such an extensive impact on life in America. From inventions in communication technology, to their role in designing cars, ships, houses, skyscrapers, microscopes and even the Google search engine, the scientists, engineers, urban planners, architects, inventors, and artists connected with MIT have shaped the way Americans live, work, play, and think about the world around them.

Deborah Douglas, Curator of Science and Technology at the MIT Museum, organized The MIT 150 Exhibition around themes that reflect the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of MITís greatest achievements. Visitors may consider the ways in which Boston and Cambridge have served as a living laboratory for MIT; the manner in which numbers - analog and digital, have moved the world to the computer age; as well as methods for improving the workings of the human body. Themes and artifacts will also illuminate how the humanities have infused scientific and engineering applications, while also explaining how MITís teaching culture and entrepreneurial spirit have influenced education, industry, and governments throughout the world. Engaging with this exhibition leaves one with a deep understanding of how the problem solving spirit guides so many at MIT to honor the founderís vision of an institution that would and continues to revolutionize American higher education.

What Visitors Will See

Visitors to The MIT 150 Exhibition will find large scale artifacts Ė a racecar, a wheelchair, and an outer space control system simulator, as well as simpler objects like the wooden model of the city of Boston used in the wind tunnel experiments that solved the not so simple problem of window panes falling from the John Hancock Tower when it was built in 1976. Visitors will also discover the old and the rare Ė like the 19th century notes of Ellen Swallow Richards, MITís first female graduate student who was instrumental in creating the first water quality standards in America, along with the new Ė a virus built battery recently shown to President Obama. And, visitors will come upon the controversial; faculty who provoked politicians on both sides of the aisle with their science and their opinions, and those who irritated their own institution, by proving, with data, that women were always given smaller labs than men. The history of MIT is an American story, and this exhibition offers a special opportunity to better understand the crucial infrastructure that created the foundation for Americaís expansive growth in the 20th century.

The people of MIT persevered against all kinds of odds, and in this exhibition there are countless items that prove their dedication to learning and discovery. Their lives and the material culture here are expressive of MITís motto, "mens et manus" - "Mind and Hand." Their stories and the objects that represent them continue to inspire and to educate. In the words of MIT President Susan Hockfield, "the people of MIT continue to embody the restless searching spirit Ė the spirit of inventional wisdom, and during this anniversary year we will highlight some of MITís most revolutionary results, and ponder the path to the future."

The MIT 150 Exhibition kicks off the 150 days in which MIT will celebrate its anniversary with a myriad of events that will give the public a deep look into the history of this exemplary institution. For more events: http://mit150.mit.edu/about

Josie Patterson
Marketing Director, MIT Museum
617-253-4422 | josiep@mit.edu

(download Exhibition Logo and other images here)

Biography: Curator, Deborah Douglas

Deborah G. Douglas is the Curator of Science and Technology at the MIT Museum. She has also held positions at the National Air and Space Museum, the NASA Langley Research Center, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Old Dominion University. She has curated twenty exhibitions on a wide variety of MIT-related science and technology topics, including Mind and Hand: The Making of MIT Scientists and Engineers. Douglas is currently the curator for the Instituteís 150th anniversary exhibition opening in 2011. A specialist in aerospace history, Douglas is the author of American Women and Flight since 1940 and several essays, articles and reviews.

The MIT Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. Ė 5:00 p.m.
Admission - Adults: $7.50; Under 18 students and seniors: $3.00; MIT ID and children 5 and under: free.
The Museum offers free admission 10:00 a.m. - noon on Sundays, and on the second Friday of each month from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

The MIT Museum's mission is to engage the wider community with MIT's science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

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