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Baker House Piano Drop, 2010

What happens if you take a full-sized piano and drop it from the top of a six-story building? In 1972, Baker House dormitory residents decided to find out. They hauled a piano to the roof of Alvar Aalto’s sinuous red brick architectural masterpiece and heaved it onto Amherst Alley. The stunt has been repeated several times since, and students consider it a much-beloved tradition. In recent years, the Piano Drop event has moved to the riverside of the dorm and takes place at 5 p.m. on the last day in the spring term when students may drop a class. Though this event is widely popular among the MIT community, it is controversial, as some object to the destruction of a musical instrument. One participant responded, “The Baker House Piano Drop is actually a combination of dorm spirit, harmless destructiveness, and the willingness to do something difficult just for the sake of doing it.” Shown here are the final results of the 2010 enactment, or rather those that the MIT Museum staff could scrape from the lawn below.

Gift of 2009–2010 residents of Baker House.

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