Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life

Topic: Other Subtopic: General

Case Study

of an Exhibition

by Wendy Pollock

Published on April 10, 2007

  • Description and goals

    Wild Music explores evidence for the biological origins of music through highly interactive exhibits and exceptional sound experiences—and in the process, expands our understandings of what makes music.

  • Development process and challenges

    One of the challenges and opportunities of Wild Music was to design for an optimal sound experience. We engaged acoustical consultants, organized a planning workshop focused on sound, and included an advisor with expertise in blindness and low vision in regular meetings of the planning team. We also included a musician and environmental sound artist in early work on related programs, and ultimately engaged him to compose the overall exhibition soundscape.

    Because of the environmental subtheme of this exhibition, we also were concerned about using “green” design and fabrication approaches to the extent possible. Some of the materials proved to be more difficult to work with than the usual laminates. But we feel the results are well worth it.

  • Lessons learned, mistakes we made (and what we did about them)

    Evaluation is still underway. One thing we can tell now is that even people who don’t need elements like Braille labels or Spanish signage appreciate them. Members of the team will be posting case studies of components of Wild Music and noting some of the lessons they have been learning.

Latest Comments (5)

Kudos to the exhibition team

by Christine Reich - April 19, 2007

Wild Music is a wonderful exhibit that sets a new standard for the science center field. The exhibit design reflects a comforting and warm aesthetic that encourages you to sit and reflect, while the hands-on interactives really engage you in listening to the world in whole new ways. Most importantly, the exhibit was designed to reach the broadest possible audience, and includes English and Spanish auditory and text labels (thus providing access to visitors who are blind and visitors who speak Spanish, something most exhibits do not currently do). The multisensory aspects of the interactives (including the use of tactile graphics) work to further enhance the accessibility of the exhibition. Job well done!

Fascinating idea

by Rochelle Frank - January 13, 2009

I can remember being astounded when I heard one of my hens cluck out the melody of “The Chicken Dance” in perfect tone and cadence. I’m sure there must be many more natural tunes with even greater sophistication.

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