New exhibitions at the National Science and Media Museum to uncover how sound shapes our lives

The National Science and Media Museum is set to launch its Sound Season this spring with a series of exhibitions and events exploring how sound fills our world, helping people to understand how it is created, and encouraging them play and experiment with sound.

Sound Season includes two brand new free exhibitions running between May 2020 – January 2021 alongside a programme of special events. The exhibitions will uncover how the invisible phenomenon of sound has inspired people to explore its principles, including its origin and behaviour.

Visitors will learn how sound waves are created and how they interact with different materials and spaces, the biology and psychology of hearing and perception, and how an understanding of the physical properties of sound can be used by musicians, engineers and scientists to create and manipulate sound. Interactive elements will allow visitors of all ages to explore and experiment to deepen their understanding of sound and how it shapes our lives.

The first exhibition, Sonic: Adventures in Audio,opens to the public on Friday 1 May and will uncover the museum’s fast growing collection of sound-related objects, including iconic synthesizers and items used in the famous BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Sonic will also see the debut of a rolling programme of interactive installations by sound artists and experts. The first installations open on Friday 1 May with Drum and Bass: Time and Space by Edward Wilson-Stephens, a PhD researcher with the museum and the University of Leeds.

The second exhibition in Sound Season opens to the public on Friday 10 July. Boom: Experiments in Sound is an interactive family exhibition launching during Bradford Science Festival. The exhibition will uncover how sound is central to our everyday lives, from helping us to judge distance, size and space, to bringing us entertainment in music and television. Families can journey through the science and sensations of sound, learning how sound waves are made and move through the world, how sound helps us to understand the environment around us, and how to manipulate and play with sound using bespoke interactive displays.

Boom will feature the Oramics composition machine designed by electronic music pioneer, Daphne Oram, as well as interactive displays including a chance to measure the size of sound waves and experiment with how sounds change based on different spaces and distances.  

Commenting on the launch of Sound Season, Annie Jamieson, Curator of Sound Technologies, said: “We are really excited to be launching our Sound Season this spring. This is the first time the museum has featured sound-specific exhibitions and it is a great opportunity to explore our ever-growing collections in this area. Sound is a central part of our lives, but despite its importance to our understanding of the world, we don’t often think about it. Through this season of exhibitions and events we hope to demystify the invisible phenomenon of sound so visitors can understand what it is, how it moves through the world and how it can be played with and manipulated.”

Key dates:

Sound Season runs between 1 May 2020 – 17 January 2021.

Sonic: Adventures in AudioFriday 1 May – Sunday 4 October 2020

Boom: Experiments in SoundFriday 10 July 2020 – Sunday 17 January 2021

Please keep an eye on the museum website for updates: