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!

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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