Skip to content

music and sound

Tim Boon, Head of Research & Public History, blogs about an exciting new project at the Science Museum for 2015. The Science Museum will be the venue for an exciting musical event in autumn 2015. Six contemporary composers are writing new pieces of music inspired by key objects and spaces in the Museum. On the night of the concert, audiences will travel through the Museum to hear the pieces performed live next to the objects of inspiration. This unmissable event […]

A long black metal tube, slightly tapered and almost 9-foot-long lay on a row of filing cabinets at Blythe House, the Science Museum’s storage facility. The object was pointed out by John Liffen, the Museum’s Curator of Communications, who guided me during a research visit of the collections in 2008. It was all that remained of a mighty horn loudspeaker that was demonstrated in the Museum during the 1930s, John explained. A demolition accident had almost totally destroyed it in […]

Stella Williams from our Learning Support Team writes about one of her favourite Science Museum objects The VCS3 was more or less the first portable commercially available synthesizer, unlike previous machines which were housed in large cabinets and were known to take up entire rooms. It was created in 1969 by EMS (Electronic Music Studios), a company founded by Peter Zinovieff. The team at EMS used a combination of computer programming knowledge, advanced engineering and musical ambition to create a […]

Tim Boon, Head of Research & Public History, uncovers Kraftwerk and the connections between music and technology ahead of a live performance at the Science Museum.

Jared Keller, a researcher and former Science Museum Explainer, discusses some of our hidden objects and the science behind them.  Today we’re looking at the Sound Section of Launchpad and one of my favourite exhibits, “Sound Bite”. If you’re a bit rusty on your Sound Bite science, there is an old BBC refresher course on the principles of sound travelling through a medium/solid. The important thing to remember is that sound waves can travel through a solid material like a […]

Tilly Blyth, Keeper of Technologies and Engineering, writes about the hidden histories of information. Information Age, a new £15.6m communication gallery, will reveal how our lives have been transformed by communication innovations over the last 200 years. Our new gallery on information and communications technologies, Information Age, will open in Autumn 2014. It will look at the development of our information networks, from the growth of the worldwide electric telegraph network in the 19th century, to the influence of mobile phones […]

Amongst our peerless collection of artificial limbs are a number which have been designed or adapted for very specific functions.  For example, the special attachment that allowed a one-armed WW2 bomber pilot to hold the joystick in his plane or the artificial leg terminating in a hollow metal half-sphere that prevented a keen beachcomber from sinking into the sand. The arm pictured above is one of the most intriguing examples we have.  Acquired from Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton, it’s […]

This article was written by Ellie West-Thomas, An Electronic Music Volunteer. As Christmas draws closer, how many of you have found yourselves in a shopping centre listening to the dulcet sounds of an instrumental version of ‘The Girl from Ipanema’? Whether we notice it or not, music is always around us. Music by Muzak is a company who scientifically produced to create background music for shopping centres, offices and even lifts. It has been scientifically proven that music effects you and […]

Something a bit different from Stories from the Stores today – we’re hosting the History Carnival, and bringing you a roundup of last month’s blogs on history (and a few other links we just found interesting). Don’t worry – in true STFS style, we’re still illustrating it with objects and images from the Science Museum’s collections! Slaughter, Shakespeare and squibs November’s remembered for gunpowder treason and plot, for which Guy Fawkes suffered a traitor’s execution: hung, drawn and quartered. As Kathleen McIlvenna points […]

Guest blog post from Robert Sommerlad, a musician and Science Museum research assistant. One of the museum’s many wonderful volunteers recently took a trip to Brighton  in order to find out more about an object featured in our Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music exhibition. In an exhibition filled with many bizarre objects and unlikely musical instruments, the circuit bent Speak & Spell toy is certainly one of the most unusual and interesting items. This brightly coloured jumble of knobs, switches and buttons was […]