Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Ali Mohammad and Nadeem Mazen never got the memo that it was dangerous to play with lasers; they’re willing to carve intricate graphics into almost anything, including the 215 loaves of bread it took to animate the autumnal music video for OK Go’s “Last Leaf.” Now, from their shop—whose sign warns passersby that “it’s the future in here”—they etch equally creative messages and images into the gadgets and gewgaws of their clientele. Laptops, iPhones, and other electronics take on customization, as well as items stocked by the shop itself, from metal business cards to pint glasses and hardwood planks awaiting to become personalized kindling. The showcase demonstrates their expertise with pictures of previous projects, such as a guitar body carved with an elaborate swan and a kitchen knife inscribed with an ominous message.
Dream On stuffs its 10,000-square-foot store with sturdy futons and more than 30 types of cushy mattresses. Wood whisperers can finish an Ash L full-futon frame in six different shades ($249), helping it match your existing chairs, tables, and toothpick models of San Francisco. Add a full-size futon mattress made from cotton ($129–$399) or high-performance foam ($349–$699) to cushion tushes as they recline and a full-size cover ($39.99–$99.99) to defend cushions against stains. All futons must be assembled by the customer or their staff of human-size allen wrenches.
The MIT Museum, accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1984 and again in 2002, engages the public with scientific research, design, and a peek into the institution's academic discoveries. The museum's permanent collections, assembled from artifacts the university has collected through scholarly interests, include holograms, a nautical archive, and technological achievements, such as the telephone. Temporary exhibitions storm the museum's towers throughout the year, currently showcasing MIT 150, highlighting 150 years' worth of artifacts–such as race cars and the TX-0 computer–and world domination by MIT students and faculty. The museum also hosts a number of programs for the public throughout the year. Guests can check out the calendar for an up-to-date list of upcoming attractions and events.
Art teacher Bessie Blum shares her love for handmade objects at Made by Me, where she teaches classes that uncover each painter's hidden creativity. Under her guidance, attendees learn the fundamentals of craftsmanship, using a potter's wheel to fashion pottery pieces or fusing glass into bowls, picture frames, or whale-proof aquarium windows. Bessie's selection of pre-made pottery, meanwhile, serves as a canvas for results-oriented DIY-ers, who can skip the creation process and go straight to adorning pieces with custom layers of colorful food-safe glaze.