Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

MIT’s Great Dome Gets a Facelift

For the first time in more than 70 years, the space beneath MIT’s iconic dome has been restored to its original splendor. The dome of the Barker Library reading-room rotunda, whose diameter and height are both 75 feet, is nested inside the 100-foot-wide Great Dome; the two domes converge at the circular oculus, an intricate 27-foot skylight set in the center of both. The skylight was sealed over in 1942 to keep the dome from being a bombing target. After being briefly uncovered in the 1950s, it was then sealed again, probably because of leaking. Now, with sunlight streaming through the restored oculus and the rotunda freshly repainted, the nickname “Barker batcave” no longer applies.

inside view of MIT dome
Next in MIT News
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.