When people think of a place, it’s usually easy to imagine its setting based on what they’re known for. For instance, Paris is known for its Eifel Tower, New York City is known for its busy streets and the Statue of Liberty, etc. But Massachusetts is different.

Massachusetts may be nicknamed as the “Bay State” and the “Pilgrim State” but a lot of people also know it for many different things. And the best way to get to know them is visiting the MIT Museum.

It is no secret that one of the best ways you can do to get to know a certain place is to visit its museum. This is because, needless to say, museums house a lot of information you need about the city today, as well as its past. But the MIT Museum is way different than others. Unlike other museums, this one houses vast exhibitions about different fields – from Arts to Science. To give you a better idea of what you can find inside the museum, here are some info.

Inside MIT Museum

Located at the Massacusetts Institute of Technology (hence the name), this place houses a lot of things that will surely educate anyone who pays a visit. There are various rotating exhibitions, as well as a huge collection of artifacts and whatnot about different fields. Here, you can explore the world of photography, history, science, technology, and more.

1Previous Exhibitions

A peek inside MIT Museum’s The Beautiful Brain exhibit (Source)

Because the museum has rotating exhibitions, you’re rest assured that your every visit will give you a different experience. Just last year, the museum unveiled interesting exhibitions:

  • Arresting Fragments: Object Photography at the Bauhaus – this exhibit featured 90 prints from the Bauhaus Archive, Berlin collections in celebration of the Bauhaus centennial.
  • Drawing, Designing, Thinking: 150 Years of teaching Architecture at MIT – in collaboration with the MIT Department of Architecture to mark its 150th anniversary, this exhibition explored architecture, education, and design through the lens of student work.
  • Right Now: Polaroid’s Invention of instant Photography – here, people saw different polaroid cameras of the past even the rare large-format camera.
  • Projects and Prototypes: MIT Student Work – this exhibit featured inventive projects and kinetic sculpture that MIT students made, which exemplified the Institute’s legendary values of creativity, practical problem solving, as well as ingenuity.
  • Imagined Communities: Photographs by Mila Teshaieva – here, the museum collaborated with Mila Teshaieva (hence the name) to show how she interrogated the idea of nation as an imagined community, as well as the political construct that’s often in conflict with private and public memory.
  • Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the MIT Center for advanced Visual Arts – as its name suggests, this exhibit gave a historical overview through the selected works of CAVS research fellows, students, and professors.
  • The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal – based on its title, this exhibit featured the works of Santiago Ramon y Cajal that visualizes our brain.
  • Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT – this, on the other hand, gave a peek on the advancements of our technology and featured robotics research from the past until today.
  • Gyorgy Kepes Photographs – also about photographs, this exhibit featured the works of Gyorgy Kepes which greatly influenced art and design practices in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Big Bang Data – nope, this isn’t about your favorite series nor about how the earth was made. This exhibit rather explored the intersections of cultures, technology, and society in the digital age.
  • Holography: Dimensions of Light – this exhibit let the visitors view and interactwith some of the works from the museum’s comprehensive holography collection.
  • The Enemy by Karim ben Khelifa – this one was one of the unique exhibitions that the museum had. It was very immersive as the history was told through VR.
  • Images of Discovery: Communicating Science through Photography – this exhibit combined Science and photography to create something that inspired passion for science and technology.

The museum also held online viewings of some of its exhibitions due to the pandemic. Here are some of them.

  • The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology – this exhibit featured Polaroid products and showed how they were loved by millions of amateurs, as well as professionals
  • Lighter, Stronger, Faster: the Herreshoff Legacy – here, the legacy of the influential naval engineer, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, were traced.
  • The MIT Moderns – this exhibition explored modernist graphic design through the contributions of the MIT Office of Design Services between 1960s and 1980s.

In addition to that, the museum opened its doors online for virtual visitors who would love to see the major collections that it houses. From architecture, art, history, nautical, photography, science, and technology, you can see all of them. In case you want to take a peek, you can see the museum’s collections here.

2Educational Workshops

Kids at work during one of MIT Museum’s workshops

Aside from reading and viewing what’s being displayed, the best part of visiting this museum is that younger visitors can also get to experience hands-on activities. This is because of the interactive workshops, for students in grades six and up, that the museum offers. There are also available workshops for adults and senior groups. But if you’re joining the museum’s workshops alone, note that the MIT Museum only offers workshops during Feb Fest and the Cambridge Science Festival.

In case you want to try out the museum’s workshops, you can fill out a reservation request form here and start planning your visit.

As of writing, though, there’s still no word as to what the museum will feature next. But one thing is for sure, will be interesting and full of information, which will make you next visit all the more memorable.

In case the museum returns to its regular schedule, here are more things to take note of.

MIT Museum Hours

If you’re planning to visit an attraction, there are some things you should remember so you can maximize your visit. One of which, of course, is its operating hours. For MIT Museum, you can visit from Monday to Sunday between 10 AM and 5 PM. However, its gates are closed on major holidays like New Year’s Day (January 1), Memorial Day (May 25), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (September 7), Thanksgiving (November 26), Christmas Eve (December 24), and Christmas Day (December 25). On New Year’s Eve (December 31), the museum is only open until 3 PM.

MIT Museum Admissions

Also one of the important things you need to take note of are the admission fees. In this way, you can plot your budget, especially if you’re going to visit the nearby attractions as well. For the MIT Museum visitors, the regular tickets for adults costs $10. Meanwhile, visitors who are 1 years old and younger are only charged for $5.

Students and senior citizens can get a discounted admission tickets too. For senior citizens and students with ID, you’d only have to pay $5 for the admission tickets.

Meanwhile the admission tickets for children under five years are free. MIT ID holders such as students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as the spouses of the MIT ID holders are free to enter the museum as well without paying anything.

And if you want to save more, plan your visit on the last Sunday of each month from September to June; the admission tickets are free.

Members of certain associations are also admitted free. If you are a card holder of the American Alliance of Museums, Massachusetts teachers Association, and New England Museum Association, your admission tickets to MIT Museum are free.

EBT card holders can also enjoy the educational museum for free. On top of that, they can take three of their family members to the museum all for free as well.

Cambridge Public Library card holders can also enjoy the museum for free. However, the free admission promo is only between July and August.

The active duty military personnel of Blue Star Museums Program can also enter the MIT Museum for free. And the best part of it is that they can bring up to five members of their family.

Group Tours

Groups, of course, are all the more welcome. However, if you are with a large group, it would be best to make a reservation first before you visit. In this way your group can get to enjoy the museum by yourself as the museum can get to accommodate your group better. Plus, you can get to save on booking fees. The museum recommends making a reservation at least two weeks ahead your visit.

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MIT Museum Nearby Attractions

While the MIT Museum has a lot of exhibitions to offer, you museum tour might only take half a day. In case you’re looking for more things to do near the museum, don’t worry much as you have plenty of options. Take a look at these nearby attractions that you might want to see too.

Boston Public Library

A look at Boston Public Library’s grand and intricate interior

Cambridge, where the MIT Museum sits, is only a few minutes away from Boston. Hence, one of the top places to visit near the museum are attractions in Boston. One of which is the Boston Public Library which is only six minutes away via car.

Here, you can enjoy the educational and cultural enrichment that it offers for free. If you’re not a bookworm, don’t worry, this place is still a must-visit as the library also organizes tours that highlight the beautiful architecture of its notable Central Library buildings by Philip Johnson and Charles Follen McKim. The tour also features the art treasures found within the said building, including the masterpieces that Daniel Chester French and John Singer Sargent.

And just because we got used to merely imagine books when thinking about a library setting doesn’t mean this place is just about books. Due to technological advancements, this place is also where you can enjoy streaming audiobooks, as well as audiobook CDs.

The Boston Public Library also has available videos and music for you to stream.

Newbury Street

Zara at the Newbury Street (Source)

Also in Boston, the Newbury Street is also a must-visit if you’re already at the MIT Museum. Just a few minutes away, this place has everything you might need. Here, you can shop for clothes, memorabilia, and other things. One of the notable shops here is the Nike Boston, a tow-story haven for Nike fans. It even has an entire floor dedicated to running gear, as well as premier running shoes. You’ll definitely find a good pair of running shoes here.

It is also a place to dine after a long day of traveling. This is because the Newbury Street also has a number of restaurants for you to choose from. And you will surely find the dish you’re craving for. Of course, they serve good food that will fill your empty stomach after a long day. One of the notable restaurants in this area is Stephanie’s. This locally-owned restaurant is a popular hangout for many residents and visitors because of its menu that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No matter what time of the day, don’t forget to dine here at this casual yet elegant restaurant.

In addition to that, the Newbury Street has other establishments for other forms of entertainment. It has a park where you can take photos to remember your Massachusetts trip, a comics shop for the geeks, a paint bar where you can sip wine as you paint, and art galleries.

It’s definitely one of the nice places to be after a tour whether in the MIT Museum or in other attractions nearby.

Boston Old Trolley Tour

Boston’s old trolley touring visitors around Newbury Street (Source)

While you’re already at the Newbury Street, we also recommend not to miss trying out the Boston Old Town Trolley Tour. With this, you can get to maximize your vacation time and explore the corners of Newbury Street. You can hop on and off at the sites you want to visit. You can also get to learn about the other attractions nearby during the fully narrated 90-minute historic sightseeing tour. From restaurants to art galleries, this tour can help you easily see everything that Newbury Street as to offer.

Art Galleries

Some of the paintings inside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Source)

Speaking of art galleries, if you’re an art lover, there is also a place near the MIT Museum for you. Also in the Newbury Street, you will find plenty of art galleries with unique exhibits. There is also the Museum of Fine Arts sitting in Huntington Avenue, also in Boston.

Known as the 17th largest art museum in the world, the Museum of Fine Arts is a haven for art enthusiasts. Here, you can find more than 450,000 works of art. And because of this, it is also known as one of the art museums with the most comprehensive collections in the America. But unlike how art museums are often imagined, the Museum of Fine Arts has other programs that are not just about paintings. It also has programs for visitors who want to learn more about the other branches of art such as film, music, as well as performance art.

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Duck Tours

A replica of World War II amphibious DUKW vehicle touring visitors around

Also one of the popular tours to sign up for is the Duck Tours. But nope, we’re not talking about real ducks here. The tour was probably got its namesake as for this tour, you will hop on a replica of World War II amphibious DUKW vehicle. Here, you will be taken on an 80-minute tour learning more about the city’s historic landmarks and neighborhoods.

The tour can go fast or slow based on you which is one of the exciting parts of the tour too. But for this tour, you would want to make sure that you have some extra clothes as you may get splashed lightly or a little bit of water may flow from the back area of the “Duck.” The faster you go, the more potential there is to get wet at the back area. Also make sure to wear decent pair of shoes or sandals on for more comfort.

The Freedom Trail

Special markers placed in the sidewalk that denotes the stops along the Freedom Trail (Source)

Another not-to-be-missed attraction near MIT is the Freedom Trail. Here, you can get to have a peek at the city’ history through the different landmarks that it as. The best part of it is that you will be led by guides donning 18th century costumes. Through this, you will not just learn but you will surely be entertained as well.

Boston Harbor Island

An aerial view of the Boston harbor Island (Source)

If you’re planning to stay longer in Massachusetts, we also recommend that you check out the Boston Harbor Island. This place offers relaxation, as well as a few activities for the whole family and/or squad. Here, you can stay the night, swim along the shore, experience tidepooling with your family and/or friends, and camp under the stars and go boating on the nearby body of water. On top of that, you can sign up for lighthouse tours where you can get to know the place’s history as you go on a special two-hour narrated cruise.

This place also has a spot if you wish to celebrate special occasions. It also has its own island catering services to keep you, as well as your guests, fueled with good food.

Fenway Park

An aerial view of the inside of Fenway Park taken during game four of the American League Division Series between the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox (Source)

If you’re a sporty kind of person, then, Fenway Park should not be ignored while you’re around the city too. Boston is, well, the home of the Boston Red Sox. And if you love them, we highly recommend visiting Fenway Park. Nestled in the city of Boston, this place is where dreams are made, traditions are celebrated, and baseball, of course, baseball is forever. See it in person and learn more about it through the tours being offered. The best part of it is that even those who don’t speak English can join the tour. This is because the park has bilingual tours available in Japanese and Spanish. The only thing non-English speaker visitors should remember is that you’d have to give the park an advanced notice.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The minimalist yet stylish exterior of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Source)

If you yearn for more knowledge, another place to visit that we highly recommend is the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Here, a nice view of the minimalist yet aesthetically pleasing exteriors will already greet you. But its exterior design isn’t the only thing that you should see. What’s inside it are worth talking about as well.

Inside, you can get to see a lot of artifacts that tell the story of the late president. In fact, it has 20,000 three-dimensional objects and works of art, including items that have extraordinary historical significance and value. Some of the items in the collection are gifts for Kennedy, along with those given by world leaders. Through this, you can also get a peek of what it’s like to be a president, especially during Kennedy’s time.

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There are indeed a lot of things that Massachusetts can be proud of. One of which is the MIT Museum. It has a lot of different collections that will not just entertain or make your jaw drop with its details and the process of its creation. It’s also a place filled with knowledge that will give you a peek of different fields and subjects – a perfect site for everyone.