A museum dedicated to remembering forgotten sounds is about to close its doors. The Phono Museum in Paris explores 140 years of history in sound recording, memorializing long obsolete recording technologies that date back to the 19th century.
Opened in 2014, the museum holds precious artifacts like early tinfoil phonographs from 1878, Thomas Edison’s talking dolls, and the first machine to ever play a recorded disc. Its archives contain 250 sound machines from different eras, including wax cylinders, phonographs, and other antique methods of listening to music and sound. The museum was unable to secure city funding for its operations, and cannot sustain itself through admission fees alone, so it has launched a crowdfunding campaign to be able to avoid losing its lease.
Thank-you gifts for donors include guided tours, access to workshops, and a shout-out on the website. High-level donors can even have their voices recorded on wax cylinders using 19th century recording technology.
Institutions like the Phono Museum are vital to historic study because sound cannot be preserved easily. If we lose the equipment to play sound recorded on technology like wax cylinders, there’s no way to access that information contained within. Even a modern recording of the sound of a wax cylinder being played wouldn’t really do the experience justice.
Find out more about the crowdfunding campaign here.
All images via Ulele