Ears-on Exhibitions: Sound in the History Museum

K.T. Bijsterveld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Between March 2013 and November 2014, the Amsterdam Museum had an installation that enabled visitors to compare a recent soundscape recording of the Dam Square with simulations of how the Dam sounded in 1895 and 1935. Constructing these simulations involved virtual acoustics software, recordings of historical artifacts, and research into the urban past. This paper critically discusses how the installation was made and received by comparing the acoustic authenticity ideal behind it with the aims of the early music movement. It concludes by reviewing alternative ways of using sound in history museums by reflecting on issues of framing, identification, sensory instruction, and embodiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-90
JournalThe Public Historian
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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