New Hart Gallery Celebrates Nautical History and Research Frontiers in MechE

MIT's Hart Gallery
Photos courtesy MIT Museum


A new MechE exhibit was recently installed in the Hart Nautical Gallery of Building 5 as part of the Department’s MIT150 activities. The exhibit, a collaboration between the MIT Museum and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was the result of a complete overhaul of the space.

Collections Curator Kurt Hasselbalch, along with Department Head Mary Boyce and Professor John Leonard, worked closely with a wide range of faculty and students to create an ongoing and evolving showcase of the tremendous range of ground-breaking research being conducted in MechE. “MechE now has a unique high-profile public showcase, and the Hart Gallery looks more elegant and inviting than ever before,” says Hasselbalch about the new space.

The evolution of ship design is a main focus of the new Gallery. Forty of the Museum’s finest full-hull ship models depict 1,000 years of ship building, ranging from a 15th-century iron-clad warship to the swiftest clipper ships. Also featured is an extraordinary model of N.G. Herreshoff’s “Reliance,” winner of the 1903 America’s Cup.

The Gallery also features two rotating showcases of Mechanical Engineering research and projects. The current exhibit presents recent prototypes in bioinstrumentation created by students and post-docs in the Bioinstrumentation Lab and a presentation of photovoltaic design for increasing the conversion efficiency of solar energy.

MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Collections were originally formed in 1924 under MIT’s Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, which was later renamed the Department of Ocean Engineering in the 1970s. In 2005, Ocean Engineering merged with the Department of Mechanical Engineering to become one of seven major research focus areas for the department:


• Mechanics: Modeling, Experimentation, and Computation (MMEC)

• Design Manufacturing and Product Design

• Energy Science and Engineering

• Control, Instrumentation, and Robotics

• Ocean Science and Engineering

• Bioengineering

• Micro and Nano Engineering


The Hart Gallery is free and open to the general public from 9am to 5:30pm seven days a week.meche logo