Event Rental


Talks, Lectures & Panel Discussions

Man talking

The mission of the MIT Museum 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".


One way the Museum meets this goal is by organizing talks, lectures, and panel discussions related to new exhibitions and other areas of scholarship related to the museum.

The MIT Museum will offer several lecture series related to different exhibits and themes this spring. Please click on the appropriate topic below for more information. Stay posted on all museum events by looking at the MIT Museum calendar.

Connections / SHADA/JAHN, “Hollowed" / Ports and Ships / Soap Box


Connections is a new exhibit from the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab that explores the social potential of new communication technologies. Art installations and research projects challenge visitors to think about the rapidly changing world of social interaction and the ramifications for the future. Avatar chairs, data portraits and an immersive information cityscape are just some of the exciting aspects of this new exhibition.

Panel Discussion with MIT Media Lab graduate students
Designing Connections
Thursday, March 12, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The exhibition Connections (through Sept. 13) was conceived from research done by the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. Focusing on the intersection between technology and design, the Sociable Media Group builds experimental interfaces and installations that explore new forms of social interaction in the mediated world. Listen as graduate students, Yannick Assogba, Alex Dragulescu, Drew Harry, and Aaron Zinman discuss their individual motivations in participating in the exhibit, the technical achievements and innovations behind the installations, and why the issues behind the Connections exhibition are so salient in today's digital universe.

Lecture with Sociable Media Group director Judith Donath
Data Portraits: Representation for a post-physical world
Tuesday, April 7, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Portraits depict something essential about a person, usually by delineating the subject’s physical appearance. With the Data Portraits series, in the new exhibition Connections (through Sept. 13) the Sociable Media Group explores a different approach, portraying people by expressively rendering their online interactions and data about them. Join Sociable Media Group director Judith Donath and graduate student Alex Dragulescu in discussing what portraiture can become in the 21st century, and the ways in which the medium of portraiture itself are changing.

Demonstration and Discussion
Stepping into Virtual Worlds
A Cambridge Science Festival Event: “Tech Night”
Friday, May 1, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Online space opens new potential for examining digital communication and relationships.  Join us in looking at the diverse uses of virtual worlds ranging from research to education to entertainment. Speakers include Drew Harry, a graduate student in the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, and John Lester, the Operations Director of the Boston office of Linden Lab- the creators of Second Life.

Panel Discussion
Machines with eyes and texting spies: The shifting lines of public/private
Wednesday, May 6, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The exhibition Connections (through Sept. 13) was conceived from research done by the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, and it includes the dynamic new installation,Metropath(ologies). In a world overflowing with information and non-stop communication this modular and interactive exhibit asks poses the question of how ones sense of public versus private has changed in our new era of ubiquitous information and constant surveillance?  This panel discussion examines how privacy is being redefined in the context of hyper-connected and hyper-aware real and virtual spaces.

Moderator: Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.  Speakers include Christopher Sogohian, Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University's School of Informatics, and Judith Donath, director of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab.

SHADA/JAHN, “Hollowed"

Hollowed is a new artistic exhibition from Shada/Jahn (Steve Shada and MIT Media Lab Artist in Residence Marisa Jahn) and Cati Vaucelle. Ranging in practice from deeply personal to highly participatory, these selected works often relies on the collaborative authorship and distributive intelligence of surrounding people and situations.

Panel Discussion
On the WOW Pod: A Design for Extimacy and Fantasy-Fulfillment for the World of Warcraft Addict
Monday, April 13, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.           
A discussion about the inducement of pleasure, fantasy fulfillment, and the mediation of intimacy in a socially-networked gaming paradigm such as World of Warcraft (WOW).  This event is co-sponsored with the MIT Museum in conjunction with the exhibition SHADA/JAHN, “Hollowed,” which includes the WOW Pod.

Panelists include Jean-Baptiste Labrune, Postdoctoral Associate at the Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab; Raimundas Malasauskas, Curator, Artists Space (NYC); Henry Jenkins, Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program; Marisa Jahn, Artist in Residence, MIT Media Lab; Steve Shada, artist collaborator; Cati Vaucelle, HCI researcher, MIT Media Lab; and Laura Knott, Curatorial Associate, MIT Museum.

The panel is also cross-listed with the Visual Arts Program Lecture Series and Comparative Media Studies colloquium series at MIT.

Ports and Ships

Ports and Ships is an exhibit from photographer Andrea Frank. The photographs illuminate the invisible global network of vessels crisscrossing the seas, delivering goods, and connecting continents. Capturing on film the points of origin and destination of these worldtraveling vessels is the conceptual axis on which this project revolves.

Artist Talk
Ports and Ships: Photographs by Andrea Frank
Tuesday, March 31, 2:00 p.m.           
Despite the expansion of air transport in the last half century, global trade still moves mainly by sea, as it has for centuries. Ports and Ships (through June 14) illuminates the invisible global network of vessels crisscrossing the seas, delivering goods, and connecting continents. Join the discussion about this interesting exhibit with MIT lecturer and photographer, Andrea Frank.

Location: MIT Museum Compton Gallery, 10-150 [map].

Panel Discussion
The Invisible World of Global Shipping
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Evidence of global shipping surrounds every aspect of our lives and yet what do we really know about this mega-system? In association with the Compton Gallery exhibtion, Ports and Ships (through June 14), MIT experts in global shipping and ocean science will discuss the hidden roles of ocean shipping in the global economy and environment. They will examine industry expansion in historic terms, discuss management of risk in maritime markets and explore future developments in ocean transportation. The panel will also discuss the environmental impact of invasive species as unintended stowaways in ships and developing technologies to prevent new introductions.

Panelists: MIT Professor Henry Marcus, Mechanical Engineering and Marine Systems; Dr. Costas Bardjis ‘82, Partner at Marsoft - a maritime industry consulting firm; and Dr. Judith Pederson, research staff at MIT Sea Grant College Program’s Center for Coastal Resources.

Location: MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA.

Soap Box - What’s the Latest in Solar Energy?

Please click here for more information on this salon-style discussion series.

Stay posted on all museum events by looking at the MIT Museum calendar.

Women with computer

Amy Smith and her students from the MIT D-Lab class present on their inventions for developing countries.