Enroll in a Course

MIT Museum staff teach several courses that include hands-on experience at the museum, including courses taught by John Durant, Mark R. Epstein (Class of 1963) Director, and Deborah Douglas, Director of Collections and Curator of the Science and Technology Collections.

Check the MIT Course Catalog to see what's on in upcoming semesters.

Independent Activities Period (IAP) Sessions

IAP is a special term at MIT that runs each year from early January until the end of the month. Check back for the 2021 schedule and to see what sessions the MIT Museum will host.

MIT Courses Taught by Museum Staff

STS.050 The History of MIT

Taught by Director of Collections Deborah Douglas

Examines the history of MIT, from its founding to the present, through the lens of the history of science and technology. Topics include William Barton Rogers; the modern research university and educational philosophy; campus, intellectual, and organizational development; changing laboratories and practices; MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry; and notable activities and achievements of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Includes guest lecturers, on-campus field trips, and interactive exercises. Limited to 40.

STS.009 Evolution and Society

Co-taught by museum director John Durant and Robin Scheffler

Provides a broad conceptual and historical introduction to scientific theories of evolution and their place in the wider culture. Embraces historical, scientific and anthropological/cultural perspectives grounded in relevant developments in the biological sciences since 1800 that are largely responsible for the development of the modern theory of evolution by natural selection. Students read key texts, analyze key debates (e.g. Darwinian debates in the 19th century, and the creation controversies in the 20th century) and give class presentations.

STS.034 Science Communication: A Practical Guide

Taught by museum director John Durant

Develops students' abilities to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts. Covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, giving live interviews for broadcast, and creating a prospectus for a science exhibit in the MIT Museum. Enrollment is limited.

STS.035 Exhibiting Science

Taught by museum director John Durant

Project-based seminar covers key topics in museum communication, including science learning in informal settings, the role of artifacts and interactives, and exhibit evaluation. Students work on a term-long project, organized around the design, fabrication, and installation of an original multimedia exhibit about current scientific research at MIT. Culminates with the project's installation in the MIT Museum's Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery. Limited to 20; preference to students who have taken STS.034.

STS.454 Science and Technology in the Museum Environment

Taught by museum director John Durant

Examines the ways museums preserve the material culture of science and technology and present it distinctively to a mass audience. Focuses on challenges and opportunities of preserving and presenting science and technology in the museum environment. Students review recent work in museum studies as it relates specifically to science, medicine, and technology; review a major gallery or exhibition locally; and have an opportunity to participate in a collections- or communications-related research project in the MIT Museum.