Listening: Making Sense of the Sonic Soup

September 10th, 2003 - August 31st, 2007 | PROJECT

The Exploratorium will conduct a four-year project to explore the physical nature of sound, the physiology of hearing and the perception of sound, and the process of attentive listening. "Listening" creates 30 exhibits, three listening spaces, and related visitor experiences to complement the Exploratorium's existing "Sound and Hearing" collection. Listening encourages visitors to explore the scientific, physiological, and cultural content of sound, from the physics of sound waves, to the mechanics of the inner ear, to the information, mood, and emotions sound can convey. Listening will inform the public of the scientific, physiological, and cultural content of sound, as well as the negative impact of ambient sound on their health and environment. Listening integrates public programming, exhibit development and visitor studies, representing a new model of collaboration and communication among educators, scientists, artists and the public. At the conclusion of the Exploratorium venue for "Listening," a traveling exhibition of 30 exhibits will circulate to science museums nationwide, supported by materials and training for education programs. A workshop at the annual meeting of the Association of Science-Technology Centers and additional conference presentations and publications will present science center professionals with Listening strategies.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Listening: Making Sense of the Sonic Soup, Front-end Evaluation
Listen: Making Sense of Sound

Team Members

Thomas Humphrey, Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
Kathleen McLean, Co-Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
Sue Allen, Co-Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
James Bell, Co-Principal Investigator, Exploratorium


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0307925
Funding Amount: 2098873


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Health and medicine | Life science | Physics | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs