Friday, August 10, 2012

Play Scientist For A Day at the MIT Museum

As one of the most respected universities on the globe, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also has a world class museum focusing on the sciences that draws crowds year round. Recently at the MIT Museum, guests of our Boston bed and breakfast got to see some really interesting exhibits after learning a bit more about how the MIT Museum grew into what it is today!
 
The MIT Museum came about in 1971 as a gathering space for all the historica artifacts scattered throughout the MIT community.  Originally called the MIT Historical Collections, it was renamed the MIT Museum in 1980 and began to develop educational programs and exhibitions based on the Museum’s sci-tech focused collections.  Due to the uniqueness of the Museum's collections and exhibits, it was able to attract over 100,000 people in the last year, about 30 percent foreign - a remarkable number when appealing to such a specific demographic of visitors. Most of the exhibits exemplify work done by MIT students, faculty and alumni.  Information and artifcatits portraying MIT’s contribution to revolutionary scientific and technological advances that are a part of our everyday lives were on display in a recent exhibit celebrating MIT's 150th anniversary.
When you're there, check out the Holography exhibit - a darkened room with three dimensional representations of actual people.  Insanely realistic and totally exciting!  In April, the Museum launched the Rivers of Ice exhibit, a really interesting study of the earth's ecology and the role of glaciers, and the effects that climate change is having on our weather and populations.
The Robots and Beyond exhibit shares the Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations taking place over the last few decades at MIT.  A behind-the-scenes look at this inventive concept showcases the great contributions that MIT's AI labs have made in medicine, entertainment, global exploration, and more. You can even see how socially-intelligent robots interact with their environment in eerily human-like ways!
The MIT Museum also offers the opportunity to attend lectures, panel discussions, and performances. The Soap Box is a series of forum-style conversations with newsworthy scientists and engineers about important ideas and issues in science and technology. Sponsored by the museum each spring, the Cambridge Science Festival features hundreds of events, performances, talks, lectures and demonstrations for all ages.  And just for fun, ask about the annual piano drop - it started as a student experiment and evolved into a fun ritual for graduating seniors!

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