Is the MOPS Conference Available to Watch Online?

TO ALL WHO’VE ASKED ABOUT WATCHING OUR CONFERENCE ONLINE:

Yes, we did record the MOPS Conference! But unless you bought a ticket, you won’t be able to watch it online for a little while yet.

We’re grateful that so many people want to watch our first-ever sound studies conference now that it’s over. And you’ll be able to – just not right away.

We’re a tiny independent museum that lacks external funding, so our ticket buyers are the only reason we were able to put on a conference and actually pay our guest speakers & judges. Plus we didn’t charge the presenters a registration fee – no ‘pay to play’ was involved.

Unlike some major cultural institutions, we believe in actually paying academics for their work – and not making paper presenters pay a fee to present (which would mean only people employed at a university, museum, etc. could afford to participate).

So we’d like to finish getting everything uploaded, and then give our ticket holders and presenters a chance to catch up on watching anything they missed first. We’ll open it up to the general public soon.

Thanks for your patience & understanding.

– MOPS management

Tickets Now Available for the Museum of Portable Sound Conference

Our first ever conference, Sound Beyond Music, is taking place exclusively online over two consecutive Fridays in November, the 12th and the 19th!

The Conference Schedule is now available, and we’ve got two great days ready for you to experience. Over the two weeks of the conference, presentation videos will be posted for participants to watch in their own time, then we will gather on the two Fridays for live presentations from exciting guest speakers – followed by questions and discussion with the online presenters!

All presenters, guest speakers, and panel judges may attend the conference for FREE. Anyone else must purchase a ticket, available from Eventbrite for just £10.

The Haunted Museum of Portable Sound is back!

The Haunted Museum of Portable Sound is being re-opened for the Halloween season this year! The mysterious PHANTOM CURATOR is unlocking his online crypt of cacophony to explore spooky sounds specially selected for either adult experiences or family outings via Zoom!

Adults will get a deep dive into the world of EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomenon – recordings of what are alleged to be voices of the dead, dating all the way to back to 1959. They’ll also be able to listen to the final seance held by Bess Houdini, the widow of world famous illusionist Harry Houdini, in which she attempted to contact his spirit every year for a decade on the anniversary of his death – Halloween!

Kids & families will be able to enjoy field recordings of bats and crows from our Permanent Collection, hear the first ever recordings of talking dolls made by Thomas Edison (and which sound downright chilling!), as well as listen to one of the most spine-chillingly frightening sounds ever: a dialup modem!

The Haunted Museum of Portable Sound will be open for visits from Wednesday 27 October through Monday 1 November – purchase your tickets and get in touch to schedule your online experience.

Research Library Catalogue Now Available

What kind of research goes into the design, creation, and maintenance of a museum dedicated to the culture and history of sound? Now’s your chance to find out, as we unlock our Research Library and present the Museum of Portable Sound Research Library Catalogue: 1,400 books, articles, patents, manuals, audio recordings, and more – including links to those available online – organised into over 50 subject areas! These are the items we have collected since our museum opened in November 2015, and cover a diverse range of cross-disciplinary topics from the worlds of sound studies and museum studies – available now as a FREE downloadable PDF.

Object of the Week: environments 9

Each week on our social media accounts, we post an Object of the Week from our Physical Objects Collection or Research Library. This week’s object is a new acquisition that we are also publishing here due to its extensive text-based content, which we are presenting as a free PDF.

This week’s object is an original 1979 pressing of Disc 9 of the famous Environments™ series of field recording albums produced from 1969–1979 by Syntonic Research, Inc., a company created by field recordist Irv Teibel. Our copy still contains the original shrink wrap including a promotional sticker that says:

‘ENVIRONMENTS™ are aboard NASA’s Voyager spacecraft as an accurate representation of Earth’s primal sounds.’

The front and back cover of the LP include numerous testimonials which can be seen in the first two pictures above. It is the inner sleeve, however, that we have decided to publish here as a PDF, since it contains a lengthy, fascinating essay about the origins and potential uses of the Environments™ records.

This essay provides great insight into the thought process behind the Environments™ series, covering topics such as noise masking, solitude, and the use of field recordings as aural atmospheres conducive to concentration and meditation. It is at this point that the essay begins to take on more adventurous topics such as Alpha waves, natural highs, and the use of Environments™ during sexual intercourse – resonating (perhaps somewhat uncomfortably) with the statement on the inner sleeve’s reverse side mentioning how Environments™ field recordings were “test[ed] in university dormitories near New York City” (see “How it all Began”, page 7 of the PDF).

Though great pains are taken in the text to emphasise the scientific nature of Syntonic Research, Inc, the essay also includes some possibly controversial material that may serve to undercut this assertion, such as an inference that humans and dinosaurs coexisted (see “Listening for the Dinosaur”, page 6 of the PDF).

We hope you find our publication of this material useful for your own research.

Ecsite 2021 Conference Appearance

Earlier today our Director & Chief Curator appeared as part of The Power of Sound, a panel session that took place at the Ecsite European Network of Science Centres & Museums 2021 conference.

The session was convened by Michèle Antoine of Universcience in Paris, and also featured presentations about sound-based exhibitions by Mark Read of Universcience and Christian Rohr of Museum für Kommunikation in Bern, Switzerland.

The Power of Sound was attended by an impressive crowd of 115 people from Ecsite’s extensive network of science and technology professionals – breaking our record for the most number of visitors to our museum in a single day!

Our Director’s 10-minute presentation – which includes a short guided tour of our museum – is available to watch for a short time on our YouTube channel:

Remembering George Floyd Silent Online Memorial Archived

More than 150 people gathered last night to memorialise George Floyd and all victims of racial intolerance in an online silent tribute organised by Marcus Ryder MBE on the one year anniversary of Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. The group remained silent for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the length of time Floyd’s murderer knelt on his neck.

Participants were asked to keep their microphones turned on, and the ensuing collective ‘silence’ was recorded. This recording will become part of our museum’s Permanent Collection. We will announce details on how the recording will be exhibited soon.

Soundscape™ Barbie Online Exhibition Now Open

Soundscape™ Barbie: The Exhibition is a FREE online exhibition exploring the complex and contentious history of public reaction to our contribution to the 60th anniversary celebration of Barbie® in 2019.

In 2019, we unleashed Soundscape™ Barbie onto an unsuspecting world. Now we’ve created an online exhibition exploring the complex public reactions to this controversial curio!

Online Visit Review in Museum Mutterings Blog

"I don’t think I have ever met a more passionate museum director. John is funny, knowledgeable and tells brilliant stories about the sounds in his museum and how they were collected." – Museum Mutterings

The Museum Mutterings blog has posted a review of their resident critic’s recent Online Visit to the Museum of Portable Sound, and they had some wonderful things to say – we are immensely grateful for the kind words!

We’re Featured in the New York Times!

Photograph of the New York Times 'At Home' calendar entry featuring the Museum of Portable Sound

On 26 December 2020, the New York Times featured our museum – specifically our current temporary exhibition, SOUNDS OF EARTH – The Record That Went To Space – in their At Home calendar, a selection of online activities to help their readers get the most out of lockdown life. You can see it in their print edition above (thanks to a photo provided by MOPS Board Member Philip von Zweck) or view it online (scroll down to ‘Saturday’).

Announcing the Museum of Portable Sound Conference – Abstracts Due 1 Nov!

We’re having a Sound Studies conference – and you’re invited to submit a proposal for it!

In November 2021, we will host the inaugural Museum of Portable Sound Conference – an online conference featuring traditional conference papers, audio papers, and essay films – about areas of Sound Studies beyond music and ‘sound art’!

Be sure to watch our Conference Infomercial above, and check out the requirements on the conference’s page. Then make sure to submit your entry to museumofportablesound [AT] gmail [DOT] com by 12 midnight GMT on 1 November!

Announcing Our First Ever Online Exhibition: MP3@25, A Celebration Of A Quarter Century Of Worldwide Compressed Digital Audio

MP3@25 is our first-ever FREE Online Exhibition!

MP3@25: The Anniversary Exhibition, 1995–2020
Opens Online 14 July 2020

What is an MP3? What is the history of the MP3? What is the legacy of the MP3?

We’ll be investigating these questions and more in this provocative free online exhibition which explores how a file type can change the world.

Features work by Suzanne Vega, Ryan Maguire, Thomas Edison National Historic Park, and the Fraunhofer Institute. Special appearances by Bruce Willis, Metallica, and Karlheinz Brandenburg.

More information soon. Contact our Director and Chief Curator for any enquiries.

Our Adult Colouring-In Book Now Available

Now available! Get your own copy.

Relax, learn, and create! The Museum of Portable Sound Adult Colouring-In Book tells a mini-history of portable sound technologies through a series of patent drawings suitable for colouring in! Includes drawings of the first transistor radio, the ‘Miami Vice’ mobile phone, the Walkman, the iPod, and much more! Each drawing includes a descriptive object label, so you can learn while you colour! Plus there are waveforms of sounds in our Permanent Collection for you to test out your synaesthetic impulses upon! Suitable for colouring in with coloured pencils, crayons, markers, and even watercolours (since every other page is text) – tho we’d recommend placing a sheet of paper underneath your colouring page if using wet media.

INSTAGRAM LIVE EVENT

Hear the entire text of our Colouring-In Book!

Our Director (and the author of the book) did a live reading of all the book’s object labels on Saturday, 13 June at our Instagram page – watch it again in the video above!

Free Audiobook: The How And Why Wonder Book Of Sound

Museum of Portable Sound Press has produced its first-ever audiobook, and you can listen to it for FREE on our Bandcamp page! You can also download a copy (and if you’d like to leave a donation, that would be swell!)

This 1962 children’s book makes for a great listen, especially with our Director’s annotations and some bells and whistles thrown in. Perfect for older kids or a refresher for adults, this audiobook covers the basics of acoustics in-depth in an accessible 90 minutes!

Here’s the full Table of Contents:

Part 1: A World Without Sound

Part 2: The Nature of Sound
What is sound?
How can you prove that sound is a form of energy?
How do we hear sounds that are far away?
How can we prove that sound needs a medium to travel through?
Sound Waves
What do we mean by compression waves?
What do we mean by rarefaction waves?
What do we mean by longitudinal waves?
Compression wave: How does it work?
Rarefaction wave: How does it work?
How can we make a vibration write its autograph?

Part 3: Measuring Sound
How fast does sound travel?
How can you use sound to measure distance?
How can you tell the distance of a lightning flash?
What is the pitch of a sound?
What do musicians mean by ‘tone deaf’?
How can you prove that pitch depends on frequency?
How do scientists give proof that pitch depends on frequency?
What is loudness?
How is loudness measured?
Why are farther sounds fainter?
What is resonance?
How did Joshua win the Battle of Jericho?

Part 4: Reflected Sound
What is an echo?
Do bats use their eyesight to find insects?
How do bats locate insects?
How do bats use sound?
How does the porpoise use sound to catch fish in the sea?
How do people who are blind locate objects?
How do ships locate enemy submarines?
How are echoes used to detect schools of fish?
How are echoes used to locate minerals?

Part 5: Musical Sounds and Musical Instruments
What is musical sound?
What is a musical scale?
What is harmony?
How do stringed instruments produce sound?
How do wind instruments produce sound?
How do percussion instruments produce sound?

Part 6: Living Sound Organs
What is the human voice?
How do we hear?

Part 7: Sound and Communication
How does a telephone carry sound?
How does a radio transmit sound without wires?
How can we record sound?
What is stereophonic sound?
How does a wire or tape recorder work?
How are sound movies made?

Part 8: Ultrasonics and Supersonics
What is ultrasonics?
How can you wash dishes with sound?
What is the sound barrier?
What is a sonic boom?

Part 9: Some Interesting Facts About Sound
Why are soldiers at the rear of a column sometimes out of step?
Why does an approaching automobile horn have a higher pitch
than usual?
Why is it easier to hear sounds from a boat during the day than
at nighttime?
When can you hear the ‘sound of the sea’ in a shell?
Your New World of Sound

Listen and get your copy today!

Visit Us Online!

Until further notice, due to the Covid-19 outbreak we will now be conducting visits to the Museum of Portable Sound exclusively online. You’ll still get the same one-on-one access you’re used to, but now it will be via the magic of video chat. Learn more and book your Online Visit!

2019: Our Year In Pictures

Here are 12 highlights of our institution’s activities in 2019 – it’s been an eventful and productive year, and here’s to an even bigger and better 2020!

 

Sonic Boom at the V&A, London
We were honoured to be invited to participate in the Sonic Boom Friday Late at the Victoria and Albert Museum in February! Our Director gave a talk, then hosted visits to our museum inside one of the V&A galleries. A magical night! Many thanks to Eric de Visscher for inviting us to be a part of this massive night of museum sounds!

(more…)

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage at The Keep, Brighton, UK

A collage of images from the Keep Sounds archive in Brighton, including reel to reel tape machines, a VU meter, micro cassettes, and the Director of the Museum of Portable Sound
Some images from our visit to the Keep Sounds offices in Brighton, UK.

Yesterday our staff had the honour of visiting The Keep Archives in Brighton, Sussex, home to one of the satellite offices of the British Library’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project is working to digitise analogue sound recordings for the UK-wide #SaveOurSounds archiving project.

Our Acquisitions Team collected several sounds of the Keep’s recording and playback equipment to add to our 20th Century Audio Equipment gallery, and our Director had a great time chatting with the staff about sounds as culture and their experiences working on this important sonic heritage project.

Follow Keep Sounds on Twitter

 

Celebrate Our Grand Re-Re-Re-Opening & 40 Years of the Sony Walkman at the National Science and Media Museum

40 Years of Portable Sound

On 1 July 2019, the Sony Walkman will turn 40 years old. We’re teaming up with the National Science and Media Museum to celebrate this milestone.

The Sony Walkman was a breakthrough in portable technology that changed the way the world listens. It allowed individuals to create their own sound environment, opening up a new, cinematic, and personal way of experiencing the world.

As part of this event, we’ll mark the anniversary by launching the newest redesign of our own permanent collection galleries—all of which exist on a single mobile phone! This groundbreaking personal museum listening experience builds on the history that the Walkman started.

Come listen to selections from the 300+ sound objects we’ll now permanently have on display, and learn more about our mission to bring the culture of sound to the world… one listener at a time!

EVENT PROGRAMME

18.30–19.10

19.15–20.30

  • John Kannenberg, Director of the Museum of Portable Sound, will talk about the history of the Sony Walkman and how it has influenced our lives, as well as the development of his own museum
  • Experience a sample of the vast array of sounds curated by the Museum of Portable Sound
  • Q&A on sound in museums with John Kannenberg, Annie Jamieson (Curator of Sound Technologies at National Science and Media Museum) and James Mansell (University of Nottingham, author of The Age of Noise in Britain)

Many thanks to Annie Jamieson and the National Science and Media Museum for hosting this event!

Photos from the V&A Sonic Boom Friday Late, February 2019

Appearing at V&A Friday Late: Sonic Boom, 22 February

Friday Lates-colour3

Our Director and Chief Curator will be appearing twice at the upcoming Sonic Boom Friday late at the V&A museum in London on 22 February!

First, Director Kannenberg will be participating in a panel discussion, ‘How Do You Listen In Museums?’ alongside V&A visiting researcher Eric de Visscher and V&A Senior Curator for Contemporary Design Corinna Gardner.

Following the talk, the Museum of Portable Sound will be available to be visited in one of the V&A’s galleries for the remainder of the evening. We will provide headphones for up to five people to listen to the museum simultaneously!

Find more information about the event at Facebook.

What is the Museum of Portable Sound?

Find out in only two minutes thanks to this handy little infomercial now available at our YouTube Channel!