I think this course very much embodies the spirit of “mind and hand” in that it let us imagine and then actually create a large project.
— Zoe Snape ’15


Making available to students the unique learning opportunities of the MIT Museum, at the interface of MIT and the wider world, is what the MIT Museum Studio is all about.

Learning at the Studio comes in many forms, from UROPs and IAP projects to senior theses, but STS.035 Exhibiting Science is the Studio’s signature course. Taught at the MIT Museum Studio and offered by the Program in Science, Technology and Society, Exhibiting Science is a new arts course of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

It expands communication learning at MIT, engaging students in the exploration of technologies as vehicles of communication. Fostering original ideas with the guidance of museum professionals, Exhibiting Science enables students to take their projects all the way from concept formulation to exhibition at the MIT Museum. 


STS.035 EXHIBITING SCIENCE 2017_spring '17


MAKING WAVES (photos credit: Francesca Liuni)

MAKING WAVES (photos credit: Francesca Liuni)

This year, STS.035 students will contribute to the development of a major display in the MIT Museum about the science and technology of gravity wave detection, in which MIT researchers play a very prominent role. With advice and support from MIT Professor Rainer Weiss, co-founder of LIGO, students will devise one or more displays designed to demonstrate some of the underlying principles of gravity wave detection.  The class will combine short seminars, talks by physicists, including Professor Weiss, and exhibit designers, and a great deal of hands-on exhibit development work. Most classes will be taught in the MIT Museum Studio where students will be provided with workspace, materials and equipment. Space is limited on this project-based course, which is particularly suited to students with strong backgrounds in physics, optics, mechanical engineering, and the visual arts.


Original picture of Seth Riskin Light Installation (Photo credit:Allan Doyle; Image post-production: Francesca Liuni)

Original picture of Seth Riskin Light Installation (Photo credit:Allan Doyle; Image post-production: Francesca Liuni)

We will treat perception as an act of creation, the creation of an individual's world of experience. From limited and noisy data through the senses, our brains construct the rich world we perceive. Creating visual art throws that world of experience back to the outside, and in it we find reflected some mechanisms of the constructive process of vision. As such,  we can find examples in art which allow us to "perceive perception”. We will learn to use and develop new tools in the arts (working mostly with light) and neurosciences (of vision and computation) to build art installations which allow us to physically experience different levels of the hierarchy of visual processing. We will treat the experiences  observers have when interacting with these contexts as the subject of scientific inquiry, and there will be a seminar with readings in the arts and teachings in vision neuroscience as well. 

Sponsored by MIT Center for Arts, Science and Technology

Projects result in end-of-semester exhibition

More soon at


The MIT Museum Studio is an ongoing exhibition of the creative process. It’s a place for students to explore technologies as vehicles of expression and, equally, for visitors to see learning in action.
— Seth Riskin, director of the MIT Museum Studio

At the heart of campus, in Building 10-150, just off Memorial Lobby and the Infinite Corridor, the MIT Museum Studio provides a platform where students can test their ideas and get feedback from a diverse audience.

  • Our alliance with the Edgerton Center expands project-based learning with museum display opportunities.

  • A student club hosted in the Studio, the Engineering Design Group for Exhibitions (EDGE), connects students with museum technology challenges from a range of cultural institutions.

  • The first showcase of student works opened at the MIT Museum in May 2014. Selected from a campus-wide call and ranging from an interactive laser harp to a 3D printed prosthetic arm, the projects were developed for display with support of the MIT Museum Studio. 



Photos and media credit: Francesca Liuni

Prelude to Spaghettification was developed through the IAP 2017 workshop Glass+Light, a collaboration between the MIT Museum Studio and the MIT Glass Lab. The feature-object was produced by Peter Houk, Director of the MIT Glass Lab, using the Reticello Technique. ‘Spaghettification’ is an astrophysics term that describes what happens to an object in a strong, non-homogeneous gravitational field such as black hole: stretched in one direction, contracted in the other. Prelude to Spaghettification announces this spring’s STS.035 Exhibiting Science course at the MIT Museum Studio + Compton Gallery. Working with Professor Rainer Weiss and the LIGO team, the Exhibiting Science class will design, fabricate and install an original exhibit on gravitational-wave detection.


It’s a great opportunity to take what I’ve learned in class, implement it, and present it to the world.
— Steven Jorgensen '14

Display drives communication at the MIT Museum Studio. Materializing ideas and getting feedback enables students to see themselves and their work from multiple perspectives. Through the Studio, students apply their ideas and engineering to cultural challenges. They learn from creators of culture— artists, designers, curators—who specialize in generating meaningful experiences through technologies. 



image of Luminescence

image of Luminescence

Garrett Parrish is an MIT senior in Mechanical Engineering who is currently developing his thesis as a creative combination between art and technology. Parrish started to create his artwork at the MIT Museum Studio and he became an advocate of the space which he defines

“not really a makerspace, but an art and technology space at MIT.”

For more info about Parrish project visit