Class of 2026 attend the “Night at the Museum”
Approximately half of the freshman class attended the event before the start of the spring semester.
The Class of 2025 Night at the Museum event was held on the evening of Feb. 5 at the Museum of Science. The event was hosted by the Office of the First Year (OFY) before the start of the spring semester, and over 500 out of 1,136 first-years attended.
According to the OFY website, the event is part of the larger Connect by Chance program which aims to “bring together random groups of classmates for conversation and fun.” A previous initiative included a class of 2026 trip to the New England Aquarium during Orientation.
The ‘Red Wing’ was rented-out specifically for the event, and included many exhibits ranging from displays of models of famous historical ships to a showcase of optical illusions and light tricks.
One of the popular activities was the Theater of Electricity show. The show included both solid state and spark gap tesla coils, as well as the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator. During the showcase, a brief rendition of "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley was played by tesla coils changing frequency.
Although the event was advertised by the OFY as an opportunity to meet new freshmen, some attendees stated that they spent time mostly with existing friends. Other reasons for students deciding to attend included free food and the opportunity to explore the exhibits.
Most students stayed at the event for two to three hours. Ellie Romero ’26 said, “there was something for everyone to love: dinosaurs, space, robots, coding games, science exhibits, an electricity show, a playground, and so much more.”
The artificial intelligence exhibit, featuring Boston Dynamics robotics, was another highlight. Jeremy Minniear ’26 called the experience a “mechanical dream” with the mechanical “dog, gas motor, trains, [and] model ships.”
More lighthearted aspects of the event included a dinosaur wearing MIT merchandise and trays of food on all three floors.
While some students found the exhibits “boring,” otherslike Romero rejoiced in the fact that they could “be childish, playing on the interactive games and the play structure.”
Minniear stated they look forward to going back to the museum in the future. “I fulfilled a lot of items on my bucket list while going there and I’m excited to go again someday.”
Jordan A. Sell ’23, a current intern at the OFY, explained that the office “has been working to increase programming and do some more, large scale events.”
Planning for the Night at the Museum began last spring; much of which included coordinating with the museum’s event staff on possible ideas for the event.
“[This] was the second year we held the event, so we already had an idea of what students liked from the year prior,” Sell said.
The office selected the museum for the event location as they wanted students to have “the freedom to do whatever they wanted at their own pace”. In particular, the variety of events and free food provided helped attract students. The organizers also highlighted their appreciation towards students for attending the event due to its timing with the upcoming semester.
“We are very thankful that so many students decided to spend the night before classes started with us,” Sell summarized.
Students interested with feedback can email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Connect by Chance website for more information regarding the initiative.