Massachusetts Institute of Technology / MIT Museum
Building N51 265 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139
Open Daily 10am – 5pm / Closed Major Holidays
NOTE: Special schedule on Thursday, May 23. See our Hours & Admission page for details.
Whether it's the reaction induced between one creative contraption and another equally crafty contrivance, or the joyful reactions sparked on the faces of the spectators, the MIT Museum's Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction is a one-of-a-kind, got-to-be-seen-to-be-believed engineering feat.
Artist/inventor Arthur Ganson masterminds the choreography of this Rube Goldberg Machine, assisted by MIT student teams and participants who range from Girl Scout troops to artists and engineers. Spectators talk to the teams, engage in spontaneous contraption making (materials supplied on site) and fill the seats waiting for the magic moment when all the machines are linked up setting off a chain reaction with a surprise ending.
A great family event – "kids" of all ages enjoy watching, playing and making things at F.A.T. In years past, over 1,500 people attended this unique event - come on time to be assured of a place to watch. Your admission also gets you into the MIT Museum. Have fun!
$10 for adults
$5 for children (under 18), students and seniors
Free with MIT ID or children under 5
Spectator fee includes a free same-day admission to the MIT Museum, which will be open until 6:00pm
*Note - Accompanying adults (parents, relatives, friends) of team participants who are not listed as team members are expected to pay for admission to the event. Each team gets one free admission to the event for a chaperone.
(Please note that the guidelines listed below may still be revised for this year's F.A.T. Stay tuned here for details!)
Your chain reaction could be as simple as books falling against one another or as complicated as a Rube Goldberg invention. Look at the Game MOUSETRAP, the Japanese TV show Pythagoras Switch, or IDEO's Incredible Global Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction Experience.
Bring your chain reaction to Rockwell Cage Gymnasium (120 Vassar Street) at noon and we'll connect your device to others to make one grand chain reaction. MIT engineers and Arthur Ganson will be on hand to help. Participants will set up their links between 12–1 PM, then introduce their teams to the audience, demonstrate their links and tinker from 1–3 PM. We will set off our grand chain reaction at 3:30 PM.
Free parking is available in the West Garage on Vassar Street across from Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, on the streets, or in the Windsor Lot on Windsor Street behind the MIT Museum. LaVerde's Market and the MIT Coop, located in the adjacent Stratton Student Center on Massachusetts Avenue, will be open. All facilities are wheelchair accessible.
F.A.T. Chain Reaction is always looking for volunteers to help out during the event. Tasks include helping to run hands-on activities in the kids' area, setting up tables and chairs, selling tickets at the door, or coordinating the audience ball run machine. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Don't forget to visit MIT Museum; the visit is free with the special F.A.T. admission. Check out Arthur Ganson's popular Gestural Engineering exhibition. The Museum will be open until 6:00 p.m. that day.
The Council for the Arts at MIT provides principal funding for F.A.T.