The mural on the central panel of the North wall is titled ‘Alma Mater.’ The central seated figure is Alma Mater holding Victory in her right hand, while in her left hand rests the Seal of the Institute. On her lap lies the great seal of the State of Massachusetts. The world is at her feet, as shown by a terrestrial globe supported by a cherub. At her right is a personified representation of learning through the printed page, and on her left is a similar figure representing knowledge through experimentation.
The figures turned toward Alma Mater on each side of the center represent the various branches of knowledge. The lower part of the picture represents the Charles River Basin with a misty suggestion of the Technology buildings in the distance.
“Ye shall be as gods”
The left panel on the south wall conveys the thought that chemistry has given mankind almost unlimited power and raised the question: shall the power be used to build up or demolish civilization?
The symbolic figure of the scientist stands between two great jars containing beneficent and maleficent gases, or constructive and destructive possibilities. the group below represents diplomats and officers at the council table of the world. In the upper section of the panel a figure of Hygeia is depicted placing a crown on the head of the scientist.
Animal figures symbolic of the dogs of war lurk beside the evil gases, while in the background may be seen the figure of Famine. The large figure standing in the shadow of the tree of knowledge represents Nature.
At the foot of the panel two children support an inscription from Genesis: “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
On the right panel of the south wall, Humanity, represented by the mother and her children, is being led forward by Knowledge and Imagination from chaos to light.
In the foreground, children are shown carrying the scales of justice, without which no real progress is possible. Above, the dove of peace hovers, and beyond in the background the stars and planets whirl in celestial space.