Collier's Cranes


Who is this for?

This hack was installed to honor Officer Sean Collier, who lost his life protecting our campus on April 18, 2013 at the hands of the Boston Marathon bombers. Officer Collier was a man who went above and beyond the requirements of the police force, taking the time not only to protect our community but to immerse himself in it as well. He joined MITOC, MIT's Outing Club, and went on many hikes with them; he took the time to meet everyone he could, and became a friend to many students and faculty alike. We have no way to ever fully thank him for his sacrifice, so this hack is our tribute.

Who is behind this?

A small group of MIT hackers began meeting a few months ago to pitch ideas for a student-built memorial to Officer Collier. The students involved remain anonymous, but the contributions of the cranes themselves came from across the MIT community and well beyond.

What are hackers? What is a hack?

MIT has a long-standing tradition of student-led pranks and installations around campus which celebrate engineering or events important to the student body. The MIT Hack Gallery states that:

The word hack at MIT usually refers to a clever, benign, and 'ethical' prank or practical joke, which is both challenging for the perpetrators and amusing to the MIT community (and sometimes even the rest of the world!). Note that this has nothing to do with computer (or phone) hacking (which we call cracking).

Hackers are the anonymous night-workers who install these pieces. While hacks are often humorous in nature, there have been several instances of more serious memorial hacks, this one included.

Where can I see the cranes?

The cranes are suspended in the Gates Atrium of MIT's Stata Center, which is the large white room with the curved mirror immediately adjacent to the Collier Memorial site. This map shows the location (click to enlarge):

Map of the area showing the location of the cranes

The cranes can now also be spotted in Google Maps.

How long will the hack be up?

While hacks usually only remain visible for a few days, the nature of this hack and the response from the community has led MIT's administration to decide to leave the cranes in place for as long as possible.

I have additional questions/comments. Whom should I talk to?

We have a Facebook page for all inquiries; you can also email us at