MIT General Collections

MIT Class Ring

Brass Rat from Caltech Cannon hack, Howe & Ser Movers, 2006

The MIT General Collection comprises artifacts as well as visual and written material that record the social and cultural history of MIT from its founding to the present day. It reflects evolving traditions of student and faculty life at MIT on both the personal and institutional level.

General Collections:
Biography Files
Research at the MIT Museum

Related Sources:
Institute Archives and Special Collections of the MIT Libraries

Highlights of the MIT General Collections include:

Photographs and Archives

Photographs and archives in the MIT General Collection broadly chronicle and depict the history of science and technology from the mid 19th century to the present. The majority of photographs and archives can be found in an extensive collection of biographical and subject files. Subjects include past faculty members and students, student life, hacks, events, departmental histories, and campus development. It provides a unique resource for historical photographs of MIT.

Film, Video, and Audio

This collection includes film and video footage from the 1920s through the 1980s, covering topics such as fraternity life, alumni reunions, faculty interviews, and audiotapes of speeches, interviews, and MIT events. Due to the fragile nature of much of the material, access to this collection is limited and determined on a case-by-case basis.


This collection reflects a range of student and faculty life across time and departments. It includes objects such as trophies, buttons, T-shirts, invitations, beavers (the MIT mascot), and brass rats; official portraits of senior administrative staff and faculty; and posters for events ranging from theatrical performances to political demonstrations.

An archive on hacking traces the history of technological tomfoolery and student pranks at MIT. It also includes scrapbooks and personal collections from MIT faculty and alumni.

For information about donating to MIT General Collection, see Guidelines for prospective donors (pdf).

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