Great Ideas exhibit features MIT research in the humanities,
arts, and social sciences

"At MIT — a bastion of STEM education — we view the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences as essential — both for educating great engineers, scientists, scholars, and citizens, and for sustaining our capacity for innovation."  

— Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean

Great Ideas Change the World

For MIT's 150th anniversary, Dean Deborah Fitzgerald and the School leadership initiated a new exhibition to showcase the depth and range of MIT's research and education in the humanities, arts, and social Sciences.

The roots of MIT's strengths in the humanities, arts, and social sciences go back to its founding days, and by mid 20th century, the Institute had created a dedicated School for these disciplines, the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS). Today, MIT SHASS is home to research that has a global impact, and to superb graduate programs, all recognized as among the finest in the world.

The School's mission also includes a core part of an MIT education. MIT’s curriculum requires all undergraduates to spend substantial time on subjects like literature, languages, economics, music, and history. In fact, every MIT undergraduate takes a minimum of eight such classes — nearly 25% of their total class time, and the School's faculty help undergraduates gain a range of critical skills and cultural and historical perspectives that enable MIT graduates to serve as leaders at home and around the globe.

To celebrate these dimensions of MIT research and education, the new permanent installation, named the Great Ideas exhibit, presents a portrait of the major fields of study, centers, and programs that make up MIT SHASS, along with an gallery of current research and profiles. The exhibit is located in Building 14N, near the Hayden Library.    

Stop by for a look.  


L: Field of Study Wall;  R: Gallery Wall; the print next to the blackboard is a design
by Russian artist Tatiana Plakhova, which is used in the exhibit banners.  



Common Threads: Changing Studies / Changing Students 
This three-minute clip from the exciting "Common Threads" video, produced for MIT 150th anniversary celebration, traces the rise of the sciences, humanities, arts, and social sciences at MIT. Winston Churchill makes an appearance.  

The Power of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT
Op-Ed by Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean, MIT SHASS
Commentary + Images

Behind the Scenes
Slide show traces the development of the Great Ideas exhibit from the discovery phase, through design, fabrication, and installation.
Slide Show