The MIT Museum

I was in Boston a few months ago and managed a visit to the MIT Museum. I found the museum among the geeky travel destinations in the Geek Atlas – very much like my series here, but with more actual science. The Miracle of Science Bar + Grill, which lists its menu on a periodic table behind the bar, is only a few steps away from the MIT Museum, but it wasn’t open when I walked by.


The museum wasn’t open when I got there either. Apparently, getting places early is a thing I do. It was spring break. So, I waited with groups of school kids and their adults. When the doors opened, the groups had to wait to go in. I was able to walk past and immediately went upstairs, where it was still quiet. Upstairs is where you want to go to see the main exhibit. It’s very small, but there are lots of neat things to see. Like Kismet, the robot! (In fact, I just discovered that I saw Kismet on his tenth anniversary of being in the museum!).
Another section of the museum displayed impressive holographic art. You will have to trust me, because not only was photography not allowed there, you can’t really capture a hologram in a photo anyway.

My favourite part was Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things. The displays were, perhaps, more fun than informative. That’s not surprising. The exhibit originated in a German design museum. It’s still at the MIT Museum until 1 September 2013. So, if you’re in the Boston area, you should have a look.

You can follow all our science-y travels on the Have Science Will Travel map.Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 9.59.08 PM

A Note on Timing
I was at the MIT Museum on 18 April 2013, three days after the Boston marathon bombing. That was the same day the all-night manhunt started with the shooting death of an MIT police officer Sean Collier, leading to a city-wide lockdown the next day. As you notice from my museum visit, life was pretty much back to normal earlier in the day. I waited to post about my museum visit, because it was clearly “too soon” to focus on the fact that people did normal, everyday things at any point during that week in Boston. But this is just the way it was: people lined up with their kids at a museum three days after a bombing and hours before a shooting. Life is never the non-stop stream of horror that you see on the news.

2 thoughts on “The MIT Museum”

  1. Thanks for visiting the Museum, especially during such a tough time for so many of us. Boston and Cambridge continue to cope with the horror from the bombing. A Cambridge based fabric artist (and originator of First Night) Clara Wainright started a collage project to help people heal. She brings “Mending Boston” around to museums and community centers where people can add to it by sewing fabric, and sharing their feelings about the bombing and its aftermath with each other. It will be here at the MIT Museum on Monday July 8 from 2-4 p.m., and likely will be on display in mid September.

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