Museum of Sound

The Los Angeles Times ran an excellent article a couple of weeks ago about the Smithsonian Institution's sound archives where the noises of yesteryear are collected:
Inside a bombproof vault a few blocks from the White House, Dan Sheehy is surrounded by audio ghosts: the clickety-clack of typewriters, the tumble of glass bottles inside a soda machine, a 1960s-era telephone ring.

Here, sonic blasts from the past are entombed in a hodgepodge of vinyl records, compact discs and reel-to-reel tapes. “We are a museum of sound,” said Sheehy, whose job is to preserve America’s acoustic heritage for an obscure branch of the Smithsonian Institution.

Sounds are like smells, he says. They can transport the listener to another time and place. The buzz of an airplane propeller sends Sheehy’s mind back to hot afternoons in 1950s Bakersfield, Calif., playing in the yard while aircraft sputtered overhead. “The sound immediately triggers memories of time and temperature,” he said.
The article inspired BB's own Mark Frauenfelder to dream up the notion of Slamtones, a mobile phone service that would deliver the "sound of slamming a phone down on the hook when you angrily end a call."

Link to LA Times article, Link to Mark's "Slamtones" journal entry at TheFeature