Day 2 — Tuesday, June 12 — Field Trips

Harvard University: Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

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Harvard has acquired scientific instruments on a continuous basis for teaching and research since 1672.  In 2006, Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments relocated from its hiding place in the basement of the Science Center to the main floor of the Putnam Gallery.  

The highlight of this field trip will be a special seminar presented by the collection staff to examine instruments related to color analysis and vision.  These will include Edwin H. Land’s laboratory apparatus, early Munsell color globes and related instruments from the experimental psychology laboratory of Hugo Munsterberg (circa 1890s-1910s).

Harvard University: The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies 

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The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum is a world leader in fine arts conservation, research, and training. The center’s laboratories are where conservation, conservation science, and curatorial practice intersect, coming together to enrich the understanding of and care for the approximately 250,000 objects in the Harvard Art Museums’ collections.

The visit will include a presentation by a conversation coordinator on the work of the lab from the viewing windows in the LightBox Gallery as well as a special tour of the Forbes Pigment Collection for a limited number of attendees.  

MIT: The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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This MIT Museum exhibit is an unprecedented opportunity to see and compare the beautifully rendered images of renowned scientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934), with contemporary visualizations of the brain created by neuroscientists at MIT and other universities.

The MIT Museum also houses a comprehensive holography collection in Holography: Dimensions of Light. Through new interactive experiences, visitors gain insight about how the interplay between one’s eyes, brain, and light creates three-dimensional space. 

Tour Guide: Mark Fairchild

MIT: Exhibits in the Gallery of the Media Lab


The MIT Media Lab was founded by MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte and the late Jerome Wiesner (former science advisor to president John F. Kennedy and former president of MIT), who foresaw the coming convergence of computing, publishing, and broadcast, fueled by changes in the communications industry.  True to the vision of its founders, today's Media Lab continues to focus on the study, invention, and creative use of digital technologies to enhance the ways that people think, express, and communicate ideas, and explore new scientific frontiers.

"Media means ways to communicate, and the Media Lab is about communication among disciplines." 

Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)


The original MFA opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876, the nation’s centennial. Built in Copley Square, the MFA was then home to 5,600 works of art. Over the next several years, the collection and number of visitors grew exponentially, and in 1909 the Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue.

Today the MFA is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collection encompasses nearly 500,000 works of art. The museum welcomes more than one million visitors each year to experience art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, special exhibitions, and innovative educational programs.

Tour Guide: Graydon Parrish

Tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


The Gardner museum houses world-class paintings collected by Isabella Stewart Gardner during her lifetime. The Venetian inspired building, established as Fenway Court when it opened in 1903, today hosts Gardner's original collection of artwork as well as other art exhibitions and community events. 

According to the museum, the 'infamous 1990 theft of priceless paintings stands as the largest art heist in history.

Tour Guide: Graydon Parrish