The presentation and use of sound in museums is a problematic and challenging issue for curators, especially for collections featuring historical sound-producing and -reproducing objects. Such artefacts are frequently visually dull and ‘lifeless’ unless the display can also capture the sounds and practices that constituted the function of the object. In addition, there is a variety of practical constraints of gallery spaces and exhibition requirements, as well as issues of audiences’ understandings of sound and listening, which must be addressed if sound and sound objects are to be effectively and engagingly displayed.
In this participatory presentation, I will present the specific challenges and concerns faced in the presentation and use of sound and sound objects in forthcoming new ‘Sound and Vision’ galleries at the National Science and Media Museum and present the audience with two scenarios of object display (one focussed on small and personal devices: one on large and shared technologies) to collectively explore and discuss potential methods and strategies.
Annie Jamieson is Associate Curator of Science and Technology at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, with a remit to develop historical sound technologies in collections and exhibitions and to research histories of sound and light technologies in live performance and recording. She is a historian of science and technology who explores the history of hearing risk and hearing protection in relation to the music and sound industries and how our understandings of that risk have evolved, as well as current attitudes and behaviour of professional musicians and sound engineers. She has presented her research to the Audio Engineering Society and at the First European Hearing Conservation Conference, and has also been featured in TPI and PSNEurope. Annie has provided educational seminars on hearing protection for sound professionals for the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, and at trade shows such as PLASA and BPM/PRO.