fragment from BUCENTAUR 1916

Major collection: MIT General Collections
Object type: sculpture
Maker: Date made: c. 1916
Materials: plaster
Measurements: 5 in x 4 1/2 in x 2 in
Nomenclature: ceremonial artifacts
Classification: societal artifacts

Small head fragment from the decorations on the Bucentaur barge, which carried the MIT charter from Boston to Cambridge as part of the move in June 1916. "It was a celebration of Technology by the American family...," wrote Professor Robert Rogers in his description of the extraordinary weeklong celebration of MIT's new Cambridge campus in June 1916. From 21-gun salutes to an epic pageant, The Masque of Power, which attracted thousands, Rogers noted that this spectacle was "the coming-of-age of Technology, the moment when the Institute consciously took her place among the great world universities." The dedication, commencement, and reunion event were broadcast to a national audience. Not all the events were serious, as this costume from a day of picnics and parades at Nantasket beach attests. However, apart from the U.S. centennial celebration in Philadelphia and the great World's Fairs, never before had the nation witnessed such an unabashed celebration of science and technology. It was a first for MIT as well -- a tradition now made manifest in the Cambridge Science Festival, the nation's first such event, which was established by the MIT Museum in 2007. [MIT 150 Exhibition label text]


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thumbnail Alumni Day 1916