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MIT Museum expands with new gallery

Grand opening of new addition this weekend
John Durant
John Durant
The MIT Media Lab's stackable City Car will be featured in the MIT Museum's expansion.
The MIT Media Lab's stackable City Car will be featured in the MIT Museum's expansion.
Image / Franco Vairani, Smart Cities Group

The MIT Museum will celebrate the grand opening of its new 5,000-square-foot addition with a Sept. 29 ribbon-cutting, new exhibits and events, and free admission for all visitors to the museum Sept. 29 and Sept. 30.

The $3 million addition will house the Mark Epstein (S.B. 1963, S.M. 1964) Innovation Gallery, MIT 360, a media-rich program and activity area, a new museum store and a new street-level entryway.

"With this major expansion, the Museum will establish a bold public presence on lower Massachusetts Avenue. For the first time, we'll have enough space to feature highlights of some of the most current research and innovation here at MIT," said John Durant, MIT Museum director.

One of the museum's goals for the addition, which converted offices into exhibition spaces, was to permit visitors easier access to the museum as well as to provide "vivid examples of the ways in which MIT researchers are continuing to invent the future," Durant noted.

The celebration starts with a ribbon cutting at 10:00 a.m. Sept. 29 and launches a weekend full of exciting activities.

Exhibits in the ground floor gallery will feature first-time presentations of MIT science and technology research. These include:

The MIT Media Laboratory City Car
This lightweight, intelligent electric vehicle radically reduces urban energy consumption and carbon footprints. It's not only completely electric, but also stacks for easy parking.

MIT and the Sea: Pioneers in Ocean Exploration
MIT's collaborations with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the U.S. Navy and industry have illuminated the darkest mysteries of the sea. The multimedia exhibition showcases work by MIT engineers in developing undersea robots for ocean exploration.

No Ordinary Fish: Zebrafish as a Model for Cancer Research
Set in the middle of the new gallery is an aquatic habitat system that houses 10 aquariums filled with zebrafish, which are used in MIT cancer research.

The gallery will also feature sculptural works by Arthur Ganson created specifically for the gallery.

"We are very grateful to the MIT alumni and museum board members who jump-started this hugely important project," said Mary Leen, associate director of the museum.

Leen also noted, "When the Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery opens, the museum's capacity for event rental space will also increase, opening up the possibility to not only host MIT events, but local, corporate and community events as well."

To read the full Epstein Innovation gallery schedule, go to

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 26, 2007 (download PDF).

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