Each year during the K-12 spring break week, both the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mass General Research Institute offer programs at the Cambridge Science Festival, a free science festival for all ages. After a pause in 2020, the festival went virtual for 2021, and this year it was a month-long celebration and exploration of science.

The Mass General Research Institute programs were a venue for researchers to share their work with the community. Researchers from the Saxena Lab in the Center for Genomic Medicine created educational activities on the topic of sleep and circadian rhythms. Daphne Holt, MD, PhD, director of the Emotion and Social Neuroscience Lab at the Martinos Center, and her team also created activities and shared articles on her recent work examining personal space. “It’s so important to share with the world and get outside of our academic bubble,” says Holt.

Other contributions included a giveaway of The Science Tooth Fairy by Erin Dunn, ScD; videos showing novel visualization technology created by Noam Peled, PhD, and Lorenz Esch, PhD; and the Martinos Center Cookbook. The Research Institute programs and materials are now available to view on the Bench Press blog.

The Russell Museum offered four virtual events, adaptations of virtual school programs the museum has offered since last summer. Two programs were virtual tours of the museum and the hospital’s history and present, with an emphasis on how the hospital has responded to past crises and on how coronavirus has changed daily life at the hospital. The other two were part of the popular Ask Mass General: Health Careers Q&A series, in which employees with a wide range of roles in the hospital serve as panelists while members of the public ask them about their jobs and career paths.

The Cambridge Science Festival events allowed individuals to sign up for these live virtual events, which are also available for groups by request.