What’s New

Spring 2022


Oral history project and exhibit trace the history of South Asian students at MIT
Distinctive Collections will partner with Sana Aiyar, associate professor of history, Ranu Boppana ‘87, MIT South Asian Alumni Association president, and Nureen Das, program manager, MIT India, to develop a new exhibit opening this fall. Featuring selections from a robust oral history program and work from Aiyar’s students who are conducting research in Distinctive Collections, it documents the history of South Asian students and student groups at MIT. Uncovering the personal, professional, and intellectual journeys of MIT’s South Asian affiliates, the exhibit will highlight the ways the Institute’s past and present have been shaped by histories of immigration and race in America, decolonization and nation-building in South Asia, and globalization and technological revolutions across the world.

Hayden renovation featured in Architectural Record
The Hayden Library and Building 14 Courtyard renovations were featured in the February 2022 issue of Architectural Record, an issue examining adaptive reuse, renovation, and restoration projects from across the globe. “As you walk through the various parts of the library—inside and out—you are struck by the way spaces dramatically open up, yet cozy niche-like areas still abound,” writes Deputy Editor Suzanne Stephens. “Daylight is constantly a lambent presence, and the view of the Charles River can always soothe the studious mind.” Read the story at architecturalrecord.com.

New research reveals letterlocking secrets of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots
The Unlocking History Research Group, led by Jana Dambrogio, Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator at MIT Libraries, published a new article, “The spiral-locked letters of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots,” in the open-access Electronic British Library Journal in December. The article, which includes illustrations by MIT alumni Annie Dunn ’17 and Matthew Li ’16, presents evidence of the use of the “spiral lock,” a highly secure mechanism used by monarchs and other letter writers in early modern Europe to seal their correspondence. Among the most spectacular examples of the technique is a letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots, on the eve of her execution in 1587. Read the new research, featured by The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, CNN, and more, at bl.uk/eblj.