Listening to Museums

An in-person multi-session course located in London.

Course Overview & Description

Students listen to Hintze Hall in the Natural History Museum, London, during the March 2018 session of Listening to Museums. 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to a museum, not just look at it?

During this course, we will visit several of London’s most famous museums, exploring a variety of techniques for listening to these intriguing spaces. What happens when you focus on listening in a place dedicated to looking? What can you learn from what you hear? How do the sounds that you make yourself while in a museum affect your experience there?

Join the Director of the Museum of Portable Sound, who will lead you on a journey of listening to museums, once a month for three months.

Education at The Museum of Portable Sound: Listening to Museums

About the Instructor

Museum Director and Course Instructor John Kannenberg is one of the world’s leading experts on the sonic experience of museums. He has been listening to and recording the sounds of museums for more than two decades, releasing several collections of museum sound recordings including detailed album-length sound maps of the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

He is an experienced international speaker, having presented talks on the sonic experience of museums at a variety of venues including the National Gallery in London, Aarhus University in Denmark, the Courtauld Institute, John Cabot University in Rome, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies, the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Tyneside Sounds Society, Università Iuav di Venezia, Museums Showoff London, and the University of Michigan’s Museum Studies Program.

His writings about the sounds of museums have been published in The Oxford Handbook of Museum Archaeology, Curator: The Museums Journal, Uniformagazine (Colin Sackett, Devon), and Museological Review (University of Leicester), and his paper proposing a methodology for the curation of sounds as museological objects of culture was awarded the 2017 Writing Prize by the Science Museum Group Journal in London. You can listen to examples of his talks on the Museum’s Bandcamp page.

About the Institution

The Museum of Portable Sound is a portable museum bringing the culture of sound to the world, one listener at a time. It has also been presented in group contexts, including appearances at many venues including Friday Late at the V&A museum in London, the Courtauld Institute’s Res|Fest, Chalton Gallery in King’s Cross, Foolish People’s Art Arcana, and Art&Critique’s ARTCRAWL London.

Contact Us

While you’re here…

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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