Visit the Museum of Endangered Sounds, and Experience a Blast from Technology’s Past

As gear­heads go, Bren­dan Chil­cut­t’s a pret­ty sen­ti­men­tal guy, and not just because he signs his cor­re­spon­dence with “love.” In Jan­u­ary, 2012, he found­ed the Muse­um of Endan­gered Sounds to keep out­mod­ed tech­nol­o­gy’s most icon­ic nois­es from van­ish­ing from the col­lec­tive mem­o­ry. Click on any image in the muse­um’s online col­lec­tion to be trans­port­ed in the Prous­t­ian sense.

Some of the exhibits—a man­u­al type­writer, a rotary phone—were already amply pre­served, thanks to a pro­lif­er­a­tion of cin­e­mat­ic appear­ances in their hey­day.

Oth­ers might well have slipped away unno­ticed, if not for Chil­cut­t’s cura­to­r­i­al efforts. Remem­ber that num­ber you could call to have a record­ed voice inform you of the cor­rect time? How about the sta­t­ic of an ana­log TV tuned to an emp­ty sta­tion? The hum of a mal­func­tion­ing Dis­c­man, the chirp of a Tamagotchi…wait, what’s that I hear? The dis­con­cert­ing whoosh of time speed­ing up?

Drown it out by acti­vat­ing all thir­ty exhibits at once. Let them sound their bar­bar­ic yaw­ps simul­ta­ne­ous­ly as the kids try to fig­ure out what that rack­et is.

h/t goes to @sheerly

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“Glitch” Artists Com­pose with Soft­ware Crash­es and Cor­rupt­ed Files

40 Great Film­mak­ers Go Old School, Shoot Short Films with 100 Year Old Cam­era

How Film Was Made: A Kodak Nos­tal­gia Moment

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is still try­ing to text on a cell phone from 2003

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  • Could you add the Mac start­ing up music sound as I think that may be a dead duck soon too :>]

  • Art Shifrin says:

    MErid­i­an 7–1212 (in mod­ern par­lance 637‑1212) was the # to call for the cor­rect time. A ‘playlet’ (by Irv­ing Reiss) of the same title was broad­cast by “The Colum­bia Work­shop” (a pro­gres­sive & eclec­tic non-com­mer­cial week­ly radio series on CBS) on August 24, 1939. It enter­tain­ing­ly dra­ma­tized the impor­tance to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, in dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances of pre­cise­ly know­ing the time.

    AT&T oper­a­tors are heard switch­ing (not sim­u­lat­ed) long dis­tance con­nec­tions in anoth­er CBS pro­gram (The 50th Anniver­sary of AT&T , broad­cast April 28, 1935.

    I’m pret­ty sure (I have to check the record­ing) that AT&T oper­a­tors are also heard switch­ing lines dur­ing the
    first coast-to-coast broad­cast of 17 sta­tions via an ad-hoc AT&T net­work on Sep­tem­ber 12, 1924. The pro­gram was part of The First Nation­al Defense Test Day nation-wide activ­i­ties.

    Anoth­er genre of sounds to be con­sid­ered is that of vehi­cles, espe­cial­ly ‘extinct’ ones. Some 78 rpm disks con­tain­ing record­ings (NOT sim­u­la­tions) of trains and sta­tion announce­ments were com­mer­cial­ly released. One that I have
    con­tains the sounds of the Union Pacif­ic
    M‑10000: the first non-steam­er stream­lined train to cross the coun­try (in 1934).

  • nonsequitania says:

    Domain name expired on 12.04.14 pend­ing renew­al or dele­tion. Are the sounds pre­served any­where else? Can we donate to a Kick­starter to keep it going? (Can we use sounds in pre­sen­ta­tions (e.g. uni­ver­si­ty open days) for a small fee that goes towards R&D of an inter­ac­tive archive?) Any­one have any info?

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