In celebration of MIT's 150th Anniversary, the MIT150 Exhibition opened to the public on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. This highly anticipated exhibition showcases 150 objects and/or events from the university's long and influential history.
The range of objects, as well as how they are displayed, offers a fresh and intimate view into MIT and demonstrates the interwoven nature of its campus and programs. “Everywhere you turn in the exhibition there is some cool piece of history — some big, some small; some expected, some unexpected,’’ says Deborah Douglas, the museum’s curator of science and technology. “You’ll really get a sense of the impact of this institution on the nation and the world.’’
The exhibition, designed by Malcolm Grear Designers (MGD), is celebratory and energetic. The broad span of objects is thoughtfully organized into 10 themes: "Pioneering MIT," "Problem-Solving MIT," "Bionic MIT," "Uniquely MIT," and so on. MGD developed a system of color and typographic treatments to distinguish each theme, and as visitors enter the first gallery of the exhibition, they are drawn in by lively introductions to each of the themed sections. Included in this gallery is one of the most popular items in the show, the Baker House Piano Drop (aptly part of the "Uniquely MIT" section) which displays the actual remains of the most recent piano to be thrust from the roof of MIT's Baker House within the context of previous "drops" (see this item here and see video of the drop here).
"Malcolm Grear Designers did an extraordinary job designing this exhibition," added Douglas. "The team succeeded magnificently, making a tremendous variety and quantity of artifacts come alive with the extravagant use of color and graphics. They 'got' the concept by listening carefully to the myriad stories associated with the objects and the Institution. Instead of relying on CAD drawings, they built a 3-D model which proved efficient for design and effective for introducing the entire museum staff to the concept. We could not be more pleased with the results."
Malcolm Grear Designers also created the visual identity for the exhibition which is designed to communicate both the informal, inventive spirit of MIT as well as speak to MIT's formal, historic significance. In addition, MGD developed the look and feel of the MIT150 website which provides various views and more in-depth information on each object in the exhibition.
The following are links to press coverage and related items:
MIT Museum's 150 Exhibition Twitter pageMIT and the Art of Innovation, The Economist
MIT Celebrates 150 Years of Smartness, Network World
Innovation, Science, and the Next American Breakthroughs, "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," WBUR/NPR
MIT Rolls Out Amazing Artifacts for 150th Birthday, Reuters
A Century and a Half of What Nerds Wrought, The Wall Street Journal
150 Years Of Weird, World-Changing Innovation, WBUR
MIT Museum Opens 150th Anniversary Exhibition: A Few Items of Entrepreneurial Note, Xconomy
Smoots, Smashed Pianos and More: MIT 150+ Exhibit Opens, Nature.com
MIT Exhibition, mit.edu
150 Exhibition, mit.edu