The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is celebrating its 150th anniversary with five months of events, including a museum exhibit and a series of symposiums seeking solutions to “future global challenges” with scientific and technological discoveries.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is celebrating its 150th anniversary with five months of events, including a museum exhibit and a series of symposiums seeking solutions to “future global challenges” with scientific and technological discoveries.

The 150-day sesquicentennial kicked off with an exciting exhibition at the MIT Museum, which showcases 150 objects that evoke the institute’s remarkable achievements and reputation for quirky brilliance.

At the opening ceremony last month, MIT President Susan Hockfield described the anniversary events as “a call to action.” She said continuing MIT’s legacy of scientific discovery and innovation was “extremely important for America’s and the world’s future.”

“We can demonstrate to the nation and the world that progress is possible against the great problems of today and tomorrow –– energy, climate, water, poverty and disease –– through science and technology informed by wise policy and pursued headlong with the can-do culture of MIT,” said Hockfield.

While most museum shows focus on a single artist or era, the “MIT 150 Exhibition” features 150 artifacts that reflect MIT’s motto of “Mens et Manus,” or “Mind and Hand.”

It combines the gee-whiz inventions of a super-duper science fair along with contributions from faculty and alumni visionaries, such as Richard Feynman and Peter Diamond, who have garnered a total of 76 Nobel prizes for MIT.

Organized by museum Curator of Science and Technology Deborah Douglas, the exhibit comprises objects that were selected with input from the MIT community. They have been displayed in 10 categories, such as “Bionic MIT,” “Uniquely MIT” and “Artistic MIT” with “Pioneering MIT” representing the largest group by far.

Taking a straightforward approach, the show reveals beauty in scientific applications and provides numerous examples of creative intelligence shaping the world.

Museum Director John Durant said the exhibition “captures the stardust and the magic of this place.”

“It is a unique selection of artifacts. It represents 150 years of invention and reinvention of the future. They will never come together again,” he said.

Visitors will see a life-size hologram of reggae star Bob Marley and the artificial limb called the Minsky arm. They can view the death mask of MIT President Richard Maclaurin and the first real-time computer, the refrigerator-size Whirlwind, which provided the core memory for a radar-based air-defense system.

They’ll see Fred Salvucci’s 1970 plan that visualized the Big Dig and the 2011 Copenhagen Wheel that transforms any bicycle into a hybrid vehicle that simultaneously gathers data on pollution, congestion and road conditions.

Check out the 1956 Strain Gage Denture Tenderometer that Life magazine called “robot mouth.” Invented by Aaron Brody, it measured food texture by chewing it so vigorously two front teeth fell out.

Representing the “What Are They Doing Here?” category, the show includes a congratulatory telegram from Richard Nixon to a Novel Prize winner and a Lady Gaga costume that looks like it’d be very comfortable on Uranus.

During the opening ceremony, David Mindell, director of the MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society, invoked the memory of founder William Barton Rogers, a Virginia native who opened the school two days before the outbreak of the Civil War.

Amid a national crisis, he said Rogers designed MIT to promote science and engineering “not in an ivory tower” but to transform Boston, and, later, the United States and the world.

While honoring past accomplishments, MIT is using the anniversary celebrations as a springboard to launch major events and activities that include:

Six symposiums on crucial global concerns

Festival of Art, Science and Technology, a semester-long celebration of MIT’s contributions in arts, media and design

The Next Century Convocation, an April 10 gathering of MIT students, faculty, staff and alumni to honor the school’s scholarly achievements

The MIT Open House, an April 30 event opening labs, centers and other facilities to the public

Mindell said the six symposiums will not be academic conferences, but they are intended to make progress on difficult problems that are key areas of MIT research.

The symposium will address the following subjects: economics and finance; integrating cancer research; women in science and engineering; the age of computation; the exploration of Earth, air, oceans and space; and brains, minds and machines.

Mindell said sesquicentennial events are aimed at the broad public because the goal is to encourage the current generation of MIT students and scholars to rethink the meaning of research.

“My profound hope is the next 150 days helps activate that vision,” he said.

If you go …

What: MIT 150 Exhibition.
Where: MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed on major holidays.
Tickets: $7.50 for adults, $3 for those under 18 and seniors and free for children. On Sundays, admission is free 10 a.m. to noon.
Information: 617-253-5927, http://web.mit.edu/museum/ and http://mit150.mit.edu/.