Sean Collier Memorial at MIT: Measured, Meaningful, Memorable


I’ve visited the Sean Collier Memorial at MIT a few times since it ‘opened’ in April 2015. Why do I keep wanting to return?

Of course, I want to know it well enough to write a worthy post about such a significant work of art outdoors. But even without this purpose, I’m drawn toward its graceful spaces and reassured by its sense of sheltered passage. I’m intrigued by how families, students and various visitors respond to the memorial’s inviting presence.

April Visit


My photos focus on the captivating qualities of textures, shapes, shadows and reflections that I and other people appreciate as we pass through. Yet my main mission is to list resources that connect you with compelling stories about how the memorial came to be. You will understand more from them than any summary I could substitute. Try these for a start:

“Sean Collier Memorial Unveiled” by Jennifer Chu

YouTube Video “Strength through Unity: The Making of the Collier Memorial at MIT”

“A Puzzle for Sean” by Sara Ferry

MIT Architecture site documenting Sean Collier Memorial Project by Architect J. Meejin Yoon:   

“The bumps installed to discourage skateboarders spell “179,” Sean’s MIT badge number, in Braille. The only closed-off arm of the memorial is aligned with the location of Sean’s cruiser on the night of April 18, 2013. The lights embedded in the ground echo the constellations above him at the moment he died.” < excerpt from article by Sara Ferry in MIT News Magazine>

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view from above of memorial at night

“The Collier Memorial ….. stands as five massive half-arches that extend from a central keystone, like the fingers of an open hand. Each wall is built from blocks of solid, polished granite — 32 in all — pieced together in such a way that each block holds the others up, creating an interlocking, self-supporting edifice.” <excerpt from article by Jennifer Chu, MIT News, April 29, 2015

December Visit


Your comments, including questions and suggestions, will help me decide if I should share more after my next visit to the memorial.



  1. Barbara Nachmias-Kedesdy · · Reply

    “Art Outdoors” is a wonderful resource and continues to lead the way in exploring the art all around us.


  2. Many thanks for your memorable comment!


  3. The photographs are wonderful, and the links to other articles and video really add a dimension.


    1. Thank you, Lynne!


  4. Sandra Millikin · · Reply

    Please keep doing these and sending the links! They are wonderful. I do a talk on War Memorials so am pretty interested generally is how events/people/places can be memorialised.

    Happy New Year!


    1. Thank you, Sandra!

      All best wishes for 2016.


  5. Many thanks to friends for valuable feedback and encouragement!


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