Archives’ June exhibit celebrates the Blashfield murals in Walker Memorial

Posted June 1st, 2009 by Lois Beattie

Mural - south wallThe murals painted by Edwin Howland Blashfield (MIT 1869) in the main hall of Walker Memorial in the 1920s have, for many years, “elevated the spirit and stimulated the imagination of countless visitors and members of the MIT community,” in the words of former President Howard Johnson. The idea of decorating the hall was conceived by MIT’s Treasurer, Everett Morss (MIT 1885), who also gave the funds to make it possible.

The story of the murals is told in the June Object of the Month exhibit of the Institute Archives and Special Collections. The murals, in what is now called Morss Hall, consist of five allegorical panels illustrating the role of education in society with particular emphasis on science and engineering. The panel illustrated here is on the south wall and shows a mother and her children being guided by knowledge and imagination through the darkness of chaos into the brightness of an enlightened era.

Further information about Walker Memorial and the murals is available in the Institute Archives, 14N-118. The images in the exhibit are from Rotch Visual Collections and are also available in DOME, the Libraries’ digital repository.

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