What would you put into the Museum of Endangered Sounds?


The Museum Of Endangered Sounds is a website that collects famous and memorable sounds from obsolete technology such as video game systems and VHS video recorders. Coming across that site got me thinking: what sounds would I put into a museum? What sounds are important enough to me that I’d want them stored and shared with others? Not just sounds made by out-of-date machines, but any sound that means something to me.

Seeing as I have a progressive hearing loss that has been getting worse since I was 5 years old, there’s a pretty good chance that I wont have any useful hearing at all at some point in the future, I’ll be deaf instead of hard of hearing. What sounds would I miss most? What sounds trigger fond memories and make me happy? We all have favourite songs and we all love to hear the laughter of loved ones, that’s the things that spring to mind first, the obvious things, but what else is there? What sounds effect us in positive ways and maybe we don’t even notice it?

The sound of a Harley Davidson like your Dad used to own when you were young. The sound of trees rustling at the bottom of your garden. The sound of your Mum singing her favourite song as she prepares dinner. The click of the door shutting in your beloved car. The list is unique to each of us, we all have sounds that trigger an emotion or remind us of a happy moment. Sounds that are either long forgotten or are heard so often that they have been relegated to the background in our busy, noisy lives.

This is a few of the things that I would put into my museum:

The sea

The sound of the sea lapping onto a beach is mesmerising. We don’t get to the sea very often, we live near Oxford, which is about the furthest from the sea as you can be in the UK – and often when we are there it is on a busy and noisy beach in the school-holiday season. But just occasionally there’s only the warm sun, a quiet beach and the sound of the sea. My Wife and I went to Kefalonia many years ago and we happened across a small deserted beach, we sat on the sand for hours listening to the water, was lovely.

Football crowds

I’m a big football (soccer) fan and watch it a lot on TV but there’s nothing quite like going to a stadium and watching a game live. The sounds of a match add just as much to the atmosphere as the visual. The crowd’s songs and chants, the collective “ooooooh” of a missed chance, the sound of 8000 people standing up at the same time as a team nears the goal and, of course, one half of the stadium going ballistic when their team scores.

Dog dreams

We’ve got a little West Highland Terrier called Oscar, he’s getting on a bit now, he’s 13 years old, he sleeps a lot. Occasionally he’ll be having a dream and he’ll start making running motions with his paws and barking in his sleep. Accept it’s not a proper bark and it’s not a whine or a yelp, it’s the contented, warm woof of a dog who has finally caught that pesky cat from across the road.

What would you put into your sound museum?