The arts at MIT are featured in a new addition to the MIT Museum's permanent exhibition, " Mind and Hand: The Making of MIT Scientists and Engineers ," a show that explores the cultural curiosity that is an MIT education.
The new section includes dozens of images, sound and video recordings, musical compositions and plays written by students, plus a dramatic new display case that features student artwork. The "Sniffer," an electronic audio 'sculpture' by alumnus Mark Bain, is also incorporated into the display.
"The arts have always been a part of an MIT education," said Deborah Douglas, curator of science and technology at the museum, observing that in the 19th century, one quarter of the students' classes involved drawing.
"There is a shared belief [at MIT] that the arts are a means of intellectual development critical to nurturing curiosity, imagination, creativity and discovery," said Douglas. The exhibition, she says, has prompted discussions about what an MIT education is, what it has been and what it could be in the future.
"Rosalind Williams [director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society] argues that MIT is 'inventing' the new liberal arts education," Douglas said. "It's a bold claim, but it is one of the reasons why I wanted to see the arts featured in the show."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 2002.