Between March 2013 and November 2014, the Amsterdam Museum had an installation that enabled visitors to compare a recent soundscape recording of the Dam Square with simulations of how the Dam sounded in 1895 and 1935. Constructing these simulations involved virtual acoustics software, recordings of historical artifacts, and research into the urban past. This paper critically discusses how the installation was made and received by comparing the acoustic authenticity ideal behind it with the aims of the early music movement. It concludes by reviewing alternative ways of using sound in history museums by reflecting on issues of framing, identification, sensory instruction, and embodiment.
Ears-on Exhibitions: Sound in the History Museum
Karin Bijsterveld is historian and professor of Science, Technology and Modern Culture at Maastricht University. Among her publications are Mechanical Sound (MIT Press, 2008) and The OxfordHandbook of Sound Studies (Oxford UP, 2012, with Trevor Pinch). She is currently finishing the project Sonic Skills: http://fasos-research.nl/sonic-skills/.
Karin Bijsterveld; Ears-on Exhibitions: Sound in the History Museum. The Public Historian 1 November 2015; 37 (4): 73–90. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2015.37.4.73
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