“Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments” opens November 25
Music is enhanced by the instruments on which it is played. Behind the scenes of every great performance lies centuries of innovation in design, engineering, and material science. A new exhibition at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, explores the science that turns rhythms and harmonies into reality.
Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments reveals the science behind everything from cellos and pianos to saxophones and electronic synthesizers. The 2,500-square-foot exhibition, which opens November 25, shares stories of instrument designers and musicians, and then invites visitors to play authentic instruments as well as some they’ve created themselves.
“We’re very excited to create an exhibition using real instruments that helps visitors discover the science behind the art of music making,” says Sherlock Terry, Montshire’s Assistant Exhibits Director, who led the design of Making Music.
The Museum’s new exhibition delves into four instrument families—strings, percussion, air instruments, and electronic instruments. Each section invites visitors to play instruments, and see videos of musicians who’ve mastered the art of playing their instrument. For example, the cluster on wind instruments invites people to create their own instruments by piecing together basic parts, and then test their design to better understand the age-old principles that allowed people to create flutes, clarinets, and organs.
Another section encourages visitors to control, adjust, and play a modular synthesizer designed by New Hampshire-born instrument maker Dan Snazelle. By adjusting its inner workings, people gain a better understanding of how electronic instruments make sounds that were previously impossible.
Bring friends and family to a shared band space, where visitors can play a guitar, drum set, or keyboard and experience how these complementary instruments empower groups to create music together.
Along the way, compelling stories of musicians, scientists, and craftspeople teach visitors about practices rooted in tradition – and some that spring from techniques and materials unknown just 25 years ago.
Making Music includes a range of activities designed to engage children, families, students, and adults – both as individuals and as teams. This interactive exhibition demonstrates that all instruments, from a simple flute to a synthesizer, rely on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Playful interactions stimulate questions and drive discussions during and after visiting the Museum.
This creative and practical examination of music distinguishes the Montshire as a unique place where science and art collide, and combines music and STEM principles. A recent survey of science centers and children’s museums with exhibitions about music, found no other interactive exhibit that does this. Making Music resonates with the core mission of the Montshire: awakening and encouraging a lifelong interest in science.
The Montshire enjoys a long tradition of highlighting exhibits about sound and music. Montshire’s outdoor Science Park features the reverberating Paul Matisse Musical Fence, Ned Kahn’s pebble-powered Rock Music installation, and a musical instrument made of stone known as the Lithophone. Inside, the Museum houses an organ-pipe exhibit designed for preschool audiences and the electronic Crankin’ Rhythm exhibit.
Prepare to be inspired and amazed and let your creativity flow. Making Music is free with museum admission and will run through September 17, 2017.
The Montshire created Making Music in consultation with instrument makers, musicians, materials scientists, acousticians, educators, exhibit developers, and our staff of trained science communicators. Making Music is made possible by donors to the David Goudy Discovery Fund.
Press photos available
About the Montshire Museum of Science:
The Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, is a hands-on, interactive science museum with more than 140 exhibits on nature, technology, astronomy, and the physical sciences. Visiting exhibitions, educational programs, and special events are offered throughout the year. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.