Skip to main content

Sonic Futures

Collecting, Curating and Engaging with Sound at the National Science and Media Museum

About the project

Sonic Futures is a 12-month engagement and impact project exploring listening at the National Science and Media Museum.

The National Science and Media Museum has a new mission to tell the story of sound technologies. From TV sets to radios and gramophones to synthesisers, these objects were meant to be heard. They contain evocative histories of how we used to hear and take us into the sonic atmosphere of the past. But putting sound technologies on show in the museum is not easy. Not all objects function as they once did. Fewer still can be sounded in an exhibition. Even if we could hear them, do old sound technologies transport us directly into past sound worlds? Or do we listen differently today than we did in the past?

This project will tackle the problem of how to put sound technologies on show in museums by working with audience listeners. Our listeners will collaborate with artists to build and test new audible exhibits taking us into the sounds of the past. The question of how we listen in museums, and how we can build exhibits that help us to listen differently, will be at the heart of our work.

The project will culminate in a public demonstration of the new exhibits, a conference for museum professionals to learn from our work, and a range of resources on this website to help others benefit from what we have discovered about museum listening.

The project is led by the University of Nottingham and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

How to get involved

As a member of the public you are warmly invited to join the project as a listener. To find out about our events, join our mailing list by emailing

If you are a researcher or museum professional with an interest in sound, please register your interest for our events and resources by emailing


Principal Investigator: Dr James Mansell, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies, University of Nottingham.

Co-Investigator: Dr Annie Jamieson, Curator of Sound Technologies, National Science and Media Museum.


The National Science and Media Museum is temporarily closed (read the full statement). This page will be updated when we have information about future events.