Video Gallery

Beginning a New Collection

The Saul Bass-inspired cover of the Portable Sound in Cinema exhibition catalogue.

The newest of our four primary collections, the MOPS Video Gallery developed out of research conducted during the curatorial process for our 2018 temporary exhibition Portable Sound in Cinema: 1979–2000, in which we traced several recurring threads of the depiction of portable sound technologies in films made before the advent of portable MP3 players.

The exhibition experimented with a new format for our museum: it was a single video file housed on the MOPS iPhone 4S, which our in-person visitors could watched only on our mobile, featuring clips of films which used portable sound technologies as part of their plot – beginning with the first appearance of a boom box on film, 1979’s New York City gangland drama The Warriors.

Screencaps from 4 TV commercials mentioned in the following paragraph: 1963 Rice Krispies; 1978 Mr. Microphone; 1980 Francis For Coppola fondles a Fuji; and 2019 Spotify India.
Our always-expanding collection of TV adverts for sound-related products offers a fascinating history of the popular visual culture of sound.

Following our exhibition’s positive reception, we began collecting more videos that we felt explore significant examples of the sounds, sound technologies, and listening practices of the past and the present. One of our video collection’s key interests – television commercials promoting audio technologies – offers a particularly engaging look at the visual culture of sound. From a 1963 jazz cartoon promoting Kellogg®’s Rice Krispies™ audible breakfast cereal, to the kitsch (and cringe-inducingly misogynist) 1978 phenomenon of the radio-amplified Mr. Microphone™, to acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola fondling a Fuji audio cassette in 1980, to a 2019 mini rom-com promoting Spotify India, these short films illustrate how media has helped audiences to ‘see’ sound across time. Planned for launch to the public in the Spring of 2020, access to our Video Gallery – which only lives in its entirety on the MOPS iPhone – has, like our in-person visits, been complicated by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Video Gallery collection is often used by our Director during workshops and seminars, like this screening of ‘Track Stars: The Unseen Heroes of Movie Sound‘, a 1979 film demonstrating the Foley process. Photo by Lara Torres.

A Media Teaching Tool

As the Video Gallery collection has grown, we have added documentaries, short films, episodes of television programmes, and some of our own videos put together for our YouTube channel. As much of the material is covered by copyright, we have limited its viewing to in-person visits or as fair-use examples during our workshops, seminars, and public talks.

Collection Highlights

Browse a selection of videos on display in the MOPS Video Gallery.

Collection Object List

Click here to download the 2020 Video Gallery Object List.

You can download a free PDF of the Video Gallery object list, current as of Spring 2020.

We will post an updated list when we have completed cataloguing our new acquisitions since then.


While you’re here…

…we need your help. For four years, we have managed to keep admission to the Museum of Portable Sound free for all. But this model hasn’t proven to be sustainable. If you value what we do, and would like to help us continue to fulfil our mission of bringing the culture of sound to the world one visitor at a time, please consider making a donation or supporting us long-term on Patreon.

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