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Moving Day at MIT: Celebrating a century in Cambridge

On May 7, MIT will host a daylong series of events, including a community parade, river competition, pageant, and dance parties.
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A new Bucentaur, under construction, was displayed at the 2016 MIT Open House. The Bucentaur team is led by Sam Magee, manager of student arts programs at MIT.
A new Bucentaur, under construction, was displayed at the 2016 MIT Open House. The Bucentaur team is led by Sam Magee, manager of student arts programs at MIT.
Photo: Andy Ryan

MIT’s commemoration of its 1916 move from Boston to Cambridge reaches its zenith on Saturday, May 7, with Moving Day, a daylong series of events for the entire MIT community, including alumni, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends.

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Join us as we mark MIT's 100th birthday in Cambridge with a daylong celebration on May 7!

Crossing the Charles: A festival parade and competition

Moving Day will begin with a festive community parade and competition on the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge by land and water. All are invited to join the parade — there is no need to register ahead of time — and costumes and props are encouraged! The crossing pays homage to the 1916 ceremonial voyage in which the Bucentaur barge transported the Institute charter across the Charles to MIT’s new home in Cambridge.

Oliver Smoot ’62, who inspired the humorous unit of measure known as the “smoot”, will lead the parade as grand marshal. Special guests will include Ray Magliozzi ’73, cohost of NPR’s popular show, “Car Talk.”

The competition features more than 30 teams vying for points based on criteria such as creativity, speed, elegance of design, community inclusiveness, and reflection of the advancement and practical application of science. Showcasing ingenuity and artistic expression with (among other things) rafts, a catamaran, and a floating MIT dome; concept cars; salsa dancers; a fleet of sailboats; a “bamboogami” vehicle; kinetic sculpture; puppets; and a new Bucentaur, the competition is an “only at MIT” experience.

“We were thrilled by the proposals submitted by our community members,” enthused Anette “Peko” Hosoi, professor of mechanical engineering and cochair of the Crossing the Charles competition. “The technical creativity that will be on display is a hallmark of MIT — it’s going to be a unique and memorable event!”

Anyone who can cross the bridge at a walking pace (for safety reasons) is invited to join the parade (accessibility info). Wheelchairs, bikes, Segways, skateboards, and children’s tricycles and wagons are all welcome. To join the parade, simply arrive on Memorial Drive near Killian Court and Massachusetts Avenue between 1 p.m and 1:30 p.m. The parade and competitors will all move together; there is no need to sign up. Spectators are invited to gather along Memorial Drive and on the bridge.

Note: Street closures will be in effect on May 7; the list below and a map are also available in the Moving Day pages of the Century in Cambridge website.

Mind and Hand: A Pageant!

At 8 p.m., the MIT community is invited to Killian Court for Mind and Hand! A Pageant, a multimedia extravaganza celebrating our history and looking to the future. The spirits of "mens et manus" ("mind and hand") will come to life for a debate on the true essence of MIT. With unique laser and pyrotechnic displays, multimedia soundscapes on the facade of Building 10, student performers, and the renowned dance troupe Pilobolus’s fascinating blend of art and science, this event reinterprets the 1916 dedicatory pageant for the new century.

“The pageant is an incredible tribute to MIT history, innovation, and pride,” explains John Ochsendorf, Class of 1942 Professor of architecture and civil and environmental engineering and chair of the MIT2016 steering committee. “We expect it will be the largest on-campus gathering of our community since 1916. You will not want to miss it!”

Killian Court opens at 7:45 pm and all doors to the court will be open except for those from Building 10. Seating is open and no tickets are required. Recommended arrival time is 8 p.m. to catch the pre-pageant entertainment and to ensure seating by 8:30, when the program begins. Please dress for the weather.

After the pageant: Keep it moving

Come as you are — or dressed for your favorite decade — to a series of dance parties and enjoy live music, food and drink, and frivolity until midnight. All are welcome; no tickets required. Wristband stations will be situated near the venues.

  • Swing and All that JazzWalker Memorial
    • Jazz, swing, and Big Band: The 30s and 40s are recreated in a supper club, complete with a live orchestra and a photo booth.
  • Happy Days: Music of the 50s and 60s — McDermott Court
    • 50s and 60s music and diner atmosphere: Live doo-wop and a photo booth.
  • MTV Studio at the Disco-Tech: Music of the 70s and 80s — North Court
    • 70s and 80s disco and club: Featuring both a band and a DJ, plus airbrush tattoos.
  • High-Tech meets Modern Dance Club: Music of the 90s and TodayKresge Oval
    • Metallic Lounge and Zinc Zone, with games and trivia, a DJ, and flash tattoos.
  • Play that Game: Retro Games for All AgesSaxon Tennis Courts, next to Walker Memorial
    • Extra! Game room in the tent on the Saxon tennis courts…games and snacks for everyone.

Street closures and shuttles

Massachusetts Avenue bridge restrictions:

  • Boston-bound traffic will close 12-4 p.m.
  • Cambridge­‐bound traffic will be limited to one lane 12-4 p.m.

Memorial Drive closings:

  • Memorial Drive from One Memorial Drive to Massachusetts Avenue will close in both directions 12-10 p.m.
  • Memorial Drive east‐bound from Vassar Street to Massachusetts Avenue will close 12-4 p.m.
  • Memorial Drive west­‐bound from Massachusetts Avenue to Vassar Street will remain open 12-4 p.m.

Cambridge Street closings:

  • Massachusetts Avenue traffic to Boston will be diverted onto Vassar Street 12-4 p.m.
  • Amherst Street from Massachusetts Avenue to Danforth Street will close 12-4 p.m.
  • Amherst Alley from Danforth Street to Vassar Street will remain open 12-4 p.m.
  • Memorial Drive intersections at Danforth, Endicott, and Fowler Streets will close 12-4 p.m.
  • Memorial Drive access from Audrey and Amesbury Streets will be restricted to westbound only 12-4 p.m.
  • Reid Overpass at the Boston University Bridge will close eastbound 12-4 p.m.
  • Memorial Drive traffic rotary around the Reid Overpass at the Boston University Bridge will remain open.
  • Ames and Wadsworth Streets from Amherst Street to Memorial Drive will close 12-10 p.m.
  • Main Street off‐ramp to Memorial Drive will close 12-10 p.m.
  • Main Street from Hayward to Ames Street will remain open, westbound only.

Boston Street closings

  • Back Street at Massachusetts Avenue will close 12-4 p.m.
  • Storrow Drive off‐ramp to Massachusetts Avenue will close 12-4 p.m.

Parking restrictions

  • Parking will be restricted on Memorial Drive from Massachusetts Avenue to the Longfellow Bridge 6 a.m to 11 p.m.
  • Parking will be restricted on Massachusetts Avenue from Vassar Street to Memorial Drive 6 a.m to 11 p.m.
  • Parking will be restricted on Ames Street 6 a.m to 11 p.m.

Shuttle services

During the street and bridge closings, shuttles will circle the MIT campus, with stops at parking and event locations. The shuttle route will have access through closed roads, including westbound service on Memorial Drive and northbound service on Massachusetts Avenue.

Press Mentions

Boston Globe

MIT’s parade this Saturday "promises to be quite the sight" declares an article by Steve Annear in The Boston Globe. Annear explains that the parade across the Charles River “is part of the school’s ‘Moving Day at MIT’ extravaganza” to celebrate the school’s move from Boston to Cambridge 100 years ago, and touts the return of MIT alumnus Oliver Smoot to serve as grand marshal.

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