MIT is known for looking forward, but this year the Institute is looking back to celebrate a century in Cambridge. MIT’s big move happened 100 years ago, but much of the MIT culture we recognize today was already in place at that time. Students took part in elaborate pranks, though they weren’t yet known as hacks. The Tech, Technique, and Technology Review were already in print, and popular Courses like mechanical engineering were well established at the school. But some things, of course, were different: The Department of Metallurgy had yet to transform into the Department of Materials Science, Walker Memorial was just a cornerstone, and what would become Maseeh Hall was still the Riverbank Court Hotel. Curious to know more about the era? Follow @MIT1916, a historical Twitter account that shares daily dispatches of MIT life 100 years ago. Here’s what to expect:
In 1916, a celebration was in order to honor MIT’s big move. The best way to celebrate? Pageantry. The move was marked by an elaborate ceremonial barge that crossed the Charles River, a play called The Masque of Power, a pageant, and several other events. In the months leading up the events, The Tech was filled with calls for students to take part in the pageant, get sized for their costumes, and learn dances for the celebration.Student Groups
While many MIT groups that existed in 1916 are still around today—like the track team and tennis team—some no longer exist, like the Wireless Society. In 1916, news at MIT often touted the annual Freshman versus Sophomore track meet or highlighted MIT athletics victories with special attention to those over Harvard and other Ivies.Elections and World News
While MIT celebrated the joyous occasion of the move, global news remained tense during a world war and an election season. World news often focused on the European front, while national news highlighted the Republican primary battle and the run up to the 1916 election, which Woodrow Wilson won. With the right to vote for women still years off, news and editorials occasionally featured women suffragists making the case for the rights at MIT and in editorial columns in The Tech.And here are opportunities to join the celebration:
April 7–9 and 14–16, 7:30 p.m.
Arts: Small Infinities, a play by Professor Alan Brody
Tickets available March 7 from Music and Theater Arts
April 12, noon–5:00 p.m.
Symposium: Beyond 2016—MIT’s Frontiers of the Future
Day of Service, part of the Together in Service Program
April 23, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Open House—Under the Dome: Come Explore MIT
Open to the public
Daylong activities include a Crossing the Charles procession, a pageant, and all-community dance parties.
June 4, 9:00 p.m.–midnight
Toast to Tech
Learn more online: MIT 2016: Celebrating a Century in Cambridge.