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The National Science and Media Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday. Please book free museum admission or cinema tickets online in advance

New exhibitions to uncover how sound shapes our lives

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

Sound Season includes two brand new free exhibitions running between 23 July and 5 December 2021, alongside a programme of special events. The exhibitions, Sonic: Adventures in Audio and Boom: Experiments in Sound, will uncover how the invisible phenomenon of sound has inspired people to explore its principles, including its origin and behaviour.

Visitors will learn about the journey of a sound wave and how it interacts with different materials and spaces, as well as exploring the biology of sound, and how an understanding of the physical properties of sound can be used by musicians, engineers and scientists to create and manipulate sound. Interactive displays will also allow visitors of all ages to explore and experiment to deepen their understanding of sound and how it shapes our lives.

The first of the two special exhibitions, Boom: Experiments in Sound, is an interactive family exhibition opening just in time for the summer holidays. Boom 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, with exciting displays including a sound canal and interactive crescendo space. Visitors will discover 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.

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

The second exhibition, Sonic: Adventures in Audio, 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 23 July with Drum and Bass: Time and Space by Edward Wilson-Stephens, a PhD researcher with the museum and the University of Leeds, and Gramophony, by composer and performer Jobina Tinnemans.

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 summer. 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.”

The National Science and Media Museum and Pictureville Cinema are now open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00–16.00, and every day during school holidays. Visitors must pre-book a ticket to visit via the museum website. For more information about how to book and essential safety information, see the visit page and reopening FAQ.

Sound Season, including the exhibitions Sonic: Adventures in Audio and Boom: Experiments in Sound, runs between Friday 23 July and Sunday 5 December 2021. Keep an eye on the Sound Season webpage for updates.


For further details or images please contact Katie Canning, Press and PR Manager, National Science and Media Museum: / 01274 203 027

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

Part of the Science Museum Group