MIT Museum Opening Celebration

Friday, September 30, 2022

As prepared for delivery.

I am delighted to be here in this incredible space…the spectacular MIT Museum. I believe that MIT is at its best when we are looking out at the world. So I am thrilled that the MIT Museum is not just settling in here but also reaching out.

I have been known to say that MIT’s best invention may be itself. MIT created a community with a singular philosophy of mind and hand. A dedication to intellectual pursuit at the highest level. And a sense of responsibility to serve. Over time, this community has produced remarkable progress for humanity.

The great invention that is MIT is celebrated here in this brilliantly reimagined museum, which opens our doors wider than they have ever opened before.

To the deeply thoughtful and wildly creative people who carried out and supported the vision for this museum: I am grateful to each and every one of you. And special admiration and respect go to John Durant, for steering an immensely complex endeavor to this triumphant opening day.

John, you and your team faced enormous challenges, including a pandemic that almost made us give up on the idea of going to a museum. Yet amid the disconnection and dispersal we all experienced, you came together to build the MIT Museum a beautiful new home.

I also want to express my profound appreciation to Institute Professor Phil Sharp, Chair of the Museum Advisory Board. Before joining the Board and helping to reimagine the future of the MIT Museum, Phil helped us reimagine the future of almost everything, from DNA to the field of molecular biology to the biotech industry – all while maintaining a deep commitment to advancing human health.

This museum is a wonderful tribute to Phil, and people like Phil, whose curiosity, drive, character and sheer intellectual brilliance represent the best of MIT.

Now, I hope you will allow me to say a few words about why this museum is such a cause for celebration.

In short, it does three things:

  • It helps the world find MIT.
  • It helps the world understand MIT.
  • And, I hope and believe, it will inspire the world to love MIT.

As long as I have been here, I have seen people come out of the T station and look around, asking, Where is MIT? Now they will know, right away. And a huge part of this exciting new portal to our campus is our new museum.

For a lot of people, what we do at MIT is pretty hard to understand. The MIT Museum offers a gentle introduction – a small sampling of a much larger menu.

People travel thousands of miles to visit us because MIT is a beacon of knowledge and understanding. Our new museum allows that beacon to shine even brighter. It was designed to educate and inform, but also to elicit wonder. To make space for those moments when a visitor – adult or child, from near or far – comes upon a fascinating machine, an intriguing piece of art, or a research project of cosmic proportions, brought down to Earth (I am looking at you, Ray Weiss. Anyone else here from LIGO that we should thank for bringing Einstein’s theory to life?).

For many, many people at MIT, this institution is a home, with values they share and people they love. Once again, the MIT Museum is helping the world understand why we love this place.

The Museum reflects MIT’s bold, determined, pioneering spirit, and it does so with an enormous sense of fun. I expect it will soon join campus attractions like the Infinite Corridor, the Stata Building and the Great Dome, which are known and loved by people around the world – and just around the corner.

So to all who imagined, reimagined, believed in, supported and worked against the odds to give us this wonderful museum, Happy Opening Day.

And thank you.