Facilities will preserve hacker murals in Building 9

DSL will take high-res photos of murals to post online

MIT Facilities will protect hacker murals in the sub-basement of Building 9, and DSL plans to capture high-resolution photos of the murals to post online.

Last week, a student emailed The Tech with concerns about the potential removal of hacker murals and “sign-ins” (signatures of hackers) during construction in the sub-basement.

In response to The Tech’s inquiries, the Division of Student Life and the Department of Facilities issued a joint statement promising that their staff would take “great care” to protect the murals and sign-ins.

The statement emphasized that “there were never any plans for the murals or signature wall to be painted over.” It also detailed DSL’s and Facilities’ plans to protect and preserve the murals.

Much of the machinery that previously occupied the Building 9 sub-basement has been removed. Facilities is currently using the space for storage, and they needed to temporarily erect a fence around the area, according to the statement. They will be using the space for storage for several years.

DSL is planning to take high-resolution photos of the murals and post them online to “make them accessible to the MIT community.”

Facilities will configure the storage shelving in the sub-basement so the murals remain visible and place a “protective barrier” to prevent murals lower on the wall from becoming damaged.

One mural on the backside of a pillar will no longer be visible, since people will blocked from entering the fenced-off area. In order to allow hackers to continue appreciating the mural, DSL will hang a high-resolution print on the fence.

DSL and Facilities hope to keep the other murals visible, but if in the future storage must be expanded, they will hang additional prints and place additional protective blankets for any murals that become obscured.

The statement also noted that Facilities will move part of the fence so that a mural of a ship is “totally visible,” and they will “relocate the boxes blocking [a wall of sign-ins] and the historical ‘Hacking Ethics’ sign.”

Students expressed concerns that other walls and machinery with sign-ins had already been removed. At press time The Tech had not been able to verify this with Facilities.