Responses by Bluecadet.
Background: The goal of the new MIT Museum was to turn the university inside-out, inviting visitors to experience firsthand how MIT-led innovations are shaping the future. Working in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, our exhibit partners Studio Joseph and branding agency Pentagram, we produced more than 20 interactive installations throughout 20,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space in the new MIT Museum, weaving them together into a seamless experience that conveys the diversity, identity and ingenuity of the MIT community.
Design thinking: Across the interactive experiences designed to inspire curiosity and wonder, our team and partners strove to embody MIT’s motto Mens et Manus (meaning “mind and hand”). This motto reminds us that only through the combination of creative and practical action can we solve problems and build a better future. The MIT Museum is a way to share this motto—and this mission—with the entire world.
Challenges: Among the numerous exciting challenges, three questions that arose during this project come to mind poignantly.
How do you work together while forced to be apart? This highly collaborative project took place almost entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to our internal team working remotely yet closely together, we also strove to maintain strong collaborative ties with MIT and our partners Studio Joseph and Pentagram.
How do you build a science-centered exhibition for both the specialists in the MIT community and the general public? In this project, we had to maneuver how to create an engaging experience that remained authentic to the scientific truth while accessible to all.
How do you portray MIT as a community, and what truly makes it a community? Broad and diverse, MIT consists of students, faculty, researchers and staff—but what unifies them? People. We strove to share stories, narratives and reflections to highlight this diversity and humanity that explicitly makes MIT what it is.
Favorite details: We designed the experience around real people, stories and scientific phenomena. We never opted for the easy path of relying on generalizations and glossing over the nitty gritty while still making the experience relatable and centered on human connection.
Specific project demands: At the onset of the project, David Nuñez, the director of technology and digital strategy at the MIT Museum, challenged us to “make every pixel count” and use the physical space and digital interventions to their fullest capacity—a philosophy we took to heart. We believe that experiences should be uniquely accessible through the museum itself. This focus challenged us to consider what makes a meaningful experience and how to maximize the space’s social, technological and narrative impact.