In Person Visits Now Booking

The shoreline of Southsea, Portsmouth, UK is seen behind closeups of several people wearing headphones while listening, smiling, and gesturing during visits to the Museum of Portable Sound.

SOUTHSEA, PORTSMOUTH, UK — The Museum of Portable Sound is pleased to announce that it is officially back open for in person visits.

Based in Southsea, UK, it is easiest to book in person visits there. However, since the museum is portable, we are able to bring it along wherever our Director and Chief Curator travels.

If you are interested in booking an In Person Visit, please use our Contact Form to make arrangements.

Please note that In Person Visits in Southsea are subject to the same ticketing fees as our Online Visits.

In Person Visits in locations outside of Southsea are available but may require additional fees depending on the desired location. Contact us with any questions and we will be happy to discuss how we can bring our museum to you.

Need a refresher on how our In Person Visits work? Take 2 minutes to watch this video!

Our 2,000th Visitor!

A screenshot of the Zoom meeting during which we welcomed our 2,000th visitor, all the way from Manila, the Philippines!
The moment we announced one of today’s three online visitors was the lucky 2,000th visitor!

MUSEUM OF PORTABLE SOUND LABORATORIES, SOUTHSEA – This morning we welcomed a group of three online visitors to our museum who took a guided tour. As a result:

• Today we welcomed our first visitors of 2023;

• Today we welcomed our first visitors based in the Philippines;

• Today we welcomed the 2,000th person to visit our museum since it opened on 11 November 2015!

Curator, scholar, artist and 2,000th Museum of Portable Sound visitor Dayang will receive a package of FABULOUS PRIZES commemorating this milestone in our institution’s history.

We’re absolutely thrilled to finally reach this milestone in the museum’s history, and the fact that this was a fantastic group of artists and academics from universities in Manila made it even more enjoyable. This group was so engaged, curious, and eager to discuss the world of sound that the time just flew by.

This visit acted as a dry run for our upcoming appearance this summer at the second Listening Biennial, where we will offer a guided tour as part of the Biennial’s events taking place in Manila.

We can’t wait to deliver our 2,000th visitor’s fabulous prize package, which we’ll post about once it’s all packed and ready to go!

MOPS Director Talks Death of the iPod on Sky News

MOPS Director John Kannenberg, wearing a pair of original iPod earbuds, was interviewed by Sky News correspondent Inzamam Rashid.

LIVERPOOL/SOUTHSEA – Museum of Portable Sound Director John Kannenberg appeared on the 10 o’clock News on Sky News last night as part of a three minute segment marking the death of the iPod.

Apple announced on Tuesday, 10 May that it would cease production of the 7th generation iPod Touch, the last remaining model of iPod still manufactured by the home computing and electronics giant.

Sky News correspondent Inzamam Rashid in Liverpool commemorated the end of the line for the iPod, including a brief statement by our Director about the iPod’s rapid expansion beyond its original remit as a portable sound device to the all-in-one multimedia machine it became before Apple made its own signature product redundant with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007:

Only three years after the original iPod, Apple added video functionality…which gave everyone a little portable television that they carried with them everywhere.”

While it would have been nice if our Director had said something about sound instead of video, we’ll take what we can get.

The segment ends with two views of our museum’s Physical Objects Collection, including a small display of selections from our iPod–related holdings. Of interest to long time followers of our museum is a small ‘easter egg’ included in the first shot: just barely visible behind our packaged 1st gen iPod Shuffle stands the iPhone TC, a tin can telephone we first reported on back on 1 April this year.

The iPhone TC, Apple’s “most sustainable iPhone ever”, appearing on Sky News at 10pm last night.
The original iPhone TC advert we published as an April Fool’s Day joke earlier this year.

Science Museum in London Donates Object to Museum of Portable Sound

The Philips N2234 tape recorder is handed over in the reception area of Blythe House Archive, London, 6 April 2022. Museum of Portable Sound Archives photograph by Lara Torres.

BLYTHE HOUSE ARCHIVE, LONDON – A vintage 1982 Philips portable tape recorder once held in the Science Museum’s archives has been officially transferred to the collections of the Museum of Portable Sound.

Continue reading “Science Museum in London Donates Object to Museum of Portable Sound”

Announcing Our Summer 2022 Blockbuster Exhibition!

18 1/2 Minutes: The Erasure of Watergate Tape 342

Hear the infamous gap in the tape that sealed the fate of US President Richard Nixon exactly 50 years ago

Hear the infamous '18 and a half minute gap' in the Watergate tape that sealed the fate of US President Richard Nixon
Continue reading “Announcing Our Summer 2022 Blockbuster Exhibition!”

Apple Announces ‘Most Sustainable iPhone Ever’, iPhone TC

CUPERTINO, Calif., 1 April, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced the ‘most sustainable iPhone® ever’, the iPhone TC (standing for ‘Tin Can’).

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated “If we’re going to reach Net Zero by 2050, we’re all going to have to innovate like never before. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to the newest addition to the iPhone family. The new iPhone TC is the sleekest, easiest to use, most affordable, and most sustainable iPhone you’ll ever see.”

Continue reading “Apple Announces ‘Most Sustainable iPhone Ever’, iPhone TC”

Architectural Spotlight: Designing the Museum of Portable Sound

The sounds we exhibit in our Permanent Collection Galleries are stored on a single iPhone 4S. It is this single iPhone that all our visitors – online and in-person – listen to when accessing our collections of digital audio files, which are not available to stream online nor in a mobile app they can listen to on their own time.

But why? Why would a 21st century museum keep a collection of digital audio offline and inaccessible? Isn’t online access the only thing that keeps museums relevant in the digital age?

Now you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the design of our museum’s conceptual, performative architecture in our new architectural spotlight essay.

Why ‘Portable Sound’?

A headline reads 'Wht We Mean When We Talk About 'Portable Sound'.

A white box with rounded corners and a thick black outline contains a row of graphic black & white icons in a single row, each separated by a grey 'plus sign' (+). The icons from left to right represent: a microphone, a radio tower, headphones, a telegraph machine, a mobile phone, a person speaking, a written document, a comic-style 'POW!' sound effect, and a human ear.

“I thought ‘Museum of Portable Sound’ sounded equal parts legitimate and confusing, which in my mind was a huge advantage.”

Why are we called the Museum of ‘Portable Sound’? And what even IS ‘Portable Sound’?

Read a new interview with our Director & Chief Curator discussing the various meanings of what ‘portable sound’ means to our institution and why we chose it for our name.

Get to Know Our Collections!

The four collections held by the Museum of Portable Sound: Permanent Collection of Sounds, Physical Objects Collection, Research Library, and Video Gallery
We’ve got brand new pages on our website showcasing all four of our primary collections!

We’ve just completed a substantial update to our website: an all-new section about our Collections!

There are now individual pages dedicated to each of our four primary collections:

Read about how each collection got its start, look at behind-the-scenes photos, browse highlights of each collection, download PDF guides, and more! Interview with Our Director

Screenshot of the Seismograf interview

Denmark-based music and sound studies magazine Seismograf has published an extensive interview with Dr John Kannenberg, our Director and Chief Curator, conducted last summer by writer Julie Hugsted.

The interview covers the history of our museum, highlights from the Permanent Collection, and many of the influences and strategies that have helped shape what our museum is today.

Coming November 2022: #MiniDisc30

One of our museum’s favourite portable sound formats, the MiniDisc, turns thirty years old this November – and we will spend that month celebrating it!

Watch this space, as well as our social media accounts, for updates as we get closer to MiniDisc30 this November – we’ll make sure to tag everything with #MiniDisc30.

Is the MOPS Conference Available to Watch 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.

Reviews in Digital Humanities reviews our museum

The open-source online journal Reviews in Digital Humanities has posted a thoughtful review of our museum written by musician Rebecca Gates.

The review is part of the journal’s September 2021 special issue devoted to sound, guest edited by Mary Caton Lingold.

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!

Historic Dockyard Chatham blog review & interview

Historic Dockyard Chatham, who are currently hosting the ambitious sound-based project Ten Songs for a Lar, have published a review of their online visit to our museum, as well as an extensive interview with our Director and Chief Curator about the creation of our institution.

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’).

2020 Annual Report

Last week, we presented our 2020 Annual Report to our museum’s Trustees and Board of Directors. This is the first comprehensive annual report our institution has ever produced, a fitting milestone for the end of our fifth year of operation. We are now making this document available to the public.

Download the PDF of our 2020 Annual Report

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!