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40 Years of Portable Sound

On 1 July 2019, the Sony Walkman turned 40 years old. We teamed up with the newly reopened Museum of Portable Sound to celebrate this milestone.

The Sony Walkman was a breakthrough in portable technology that changed the way the world listens. It allowed individuals to create their own sound environment, opening up a new way of experiencing the world.

As part of this event, the Museum of Portable Sound, founded in London in 2015, marked the anniversary by launching the newest redesign of its own permanent collection galleries—all of which exist on a single mobile phone! This groundbreaking listening experience builds on the history that the Walkman started.

We invited you to listen to selections from the 300+ sound objects in the Museum of Portable Sound, and learn more about its mission to bring the culture of sound to the world... one listener at a time!

Event programme


  • Collection Tour: See behind the scenes of National Science and Media Museum’s collection with a tour of Insight: Collections and Research Centre


  • John Kannenberg, Director, Museum of Portable Sound: talk on the history of the Sony Walkman and how it has influenced our lives, and the development of his own museum
  • Demo: a sample of the sounds curated by the Museum of Portable Sound
  • Q&A on sound in museums with John Kannenberg, Annie Jamieson (Curator of Sound Technologies, National Science and Media Museum) and James Mansell (University of Nottingham; author of The Age of Noise in Britain)

The Museum of Portable Sound

The Museum of Portable Sound collects, preserves, and exhibits sounds as objects of culture, while focusing on fun, collaborative, and social aspects of the museum experience. Learn more about MOPS and its mission at the Museum of Portable Sound website.

Part of the Science Museum Group