MIT Museum reopens in Kendall Square

More than 1,000 people attended MIT Community Day before official opening on Oct. 2

The MIT Museum officially reopened to the public Monday, Oct. 2. The museum is housed at 314 Main Street in Kendall Square, near the MBTA Kendall/MIT Red Line station and across from the MIT Welcome Center.

The museum was previously located in Central Square; relocation preparation began in 2016, when the Cambridge Planning Board approved MIT to construct new buildings in Kendall Square.

MIT Museum Communications Officer Martha Davis wrote in an email to The Tech that MIT “had plans to develop a new gateway to campus in Kendall Square” and it made sense to place the museum, as “a public facing venue,” in this location to “to make MIT accessible to visitors from around the world.”

Originally scheduled to open April 2022, “supply chain and labor shortages” caused the reopening date to be pushed to October.

Davis remarked that the most exciting part of the museum is that it has been “completely reimagined” to be a “fresh experience” for visitors. 

The museum features several new exhibits, including the following: 

AI: Mind the Gap is an interactive exhibit that seeks to shine “light on the tremendous promise, unforeseen impacts, and everyday misconceptions of AI,” according to the MIT Museum website

Within the exhibit, visitors can listen to audio recordings of current scientists’ and researchers’ thoughts on the future and implications of AI; they can also attempt to detect deep fakes in videos. 

Tracing Threads  is an exhibit created by the MIT Senseable City and Future Heritage Labs, and considers “the shifting movement of people and goods in an increasingly globalized world.” 

The exhibit includes a physical scrollable map of the history of textile production and artwork created by the modification of T-shirts, a ubiquitous staple of American clothing. 

A Counting: Boston Cambridge is a “participatory multimedia artwork by Ekene Ijeoma and Poetic Justice Group” featuring a “software-generated livestream” made of an “evolving never-ending count from 1 to 100.” 

Boston-Cambridge is the sixth city to host this ongoing series; previous cities include Houston and New York. Residents of the area can participate by dialing 857-663-0688 and counting up to 100 in their language of choice. 

Davis wrote that the museum is highly adaptable to the visitor’s preferences due to the variety of hands-on experiences, talks and programs, and a “thread throughout the museum that explores the intersection of technology and art.” 

One example of a hands-on experience that visitors can participate in at the museum is ongoing research: according to Davis, “visitors [at the AI: Mind The Gap Exhibit] can interact with a robot and teach it, while researchers tracking this interaction gain insight on how the robot is learning and how to refine its skills to become a more effective teammate.”

Davis summarized the experience of visiting the new museum in three words: “accessible,” “engaging,” and “surprising.” They explained that “we’ve said all along that the museum is meant to ‘turn MIT inside out’ and make what goes on here accessible to the world.”

Prior to the official opening date, the museum hosted MIT Community Day on Sept. 23 to invite “students, faculty, and staff for a special preview of the museum,” the website reported. Davis wrote that 1,107 people attended MIT Community Day. 

The museum also hosted Cambridge Residents Day on Sunday, Oct. 3. The residents day featured drop-in activities, collection workshop programs, and gallery tours. Cambridge residents may also register for a membership that will allow them free admission to the museum. 

The museum is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. every day, excluding holidays. Davis extended an open invitation to visitors: “We’re so incredibly excited to welcome visitors back! Please come visit.”