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Die Neue Sammlung releases app that allows visitors to listen to the sounds of various exhibits
Arthur Braun, Fritz Eichler, Radio SK 2/2, 1959, Braun AG, Kronberg/Taunus, Deutschland | Germany, Drawing: Carla Nagel.

MUNICH.- The sounds of designer objects are often as characteristic as their shape. For this reason, from February 21, 2019 onwards visitors will be able to listen to the sounds of various exhibits at Die Neue Sammlung using a new “Sound of Design” Web app. The spectrum of sounds ranges from the ringing of old telephone sets to the specific engine sounds of iconic autos to the clicking of typewriter keys. Thanks to the app, the sounds are now part of the multimedia exhibition experience Die Neue Sammlung offers visitors and bring the otherwise museum-bound objects back to life.

At present, the app includes 49 exhibits from the current show, and there are up to five different sounds for each. Visitors can compile their favorites in a playlist and also download all the sounds free of charge for private use. The Web app itself doesn’t need to be downloaded and can instead simply be opened in your browser at To facilitate use of the app, all the exhibition halls are equipped with BayernWLAN free of charge. There are plans to expand the selection of exhibits featured in the app – above all as regards the planned Schaudepot.

In the 1950s and 1960s, many countries in Europe and beyond experienced a rapid economic upturn. Countless new companies entered the market and fielded a vast array of new appliances in an attempt to woo consumers. Individual products such as typewriters or cameras were developed and produced in different versions for ever more precisely defined target groups. At the same time, the electricity grids became more powerful. As a consequence, alongside mechanical products innumerable electrical appliances forced their way onto the market. The devices ranged from shavers and electric whisks to portable radios and covered ever more aspects of everyday life, also introducing any number of new sounds.

Just how quickly certain sounds are elided from cultural memory can be seen from appliances that use a technology which becomes obsolete after only a few years owing to rapid technical progress. This is especially true of acoustic coupler modems: Their characteristic, loud dial-in sound was ubiquitous in the 1990s but was swiftly forgotten, at the latest as of the new millennium. While individual units were collected by museums, and there are presumably various examples still lying around in attics, the sound of the acoustic coupler disappeared from everyday life in the space of only a few years. And it is difficult to get the devices to produce the sounds today, as sockets and transmission technologies have changed. To counteract the loss of these memories, the archive will include the sounds not only of historical but also of current products, such as a new vacuum cleaner.

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