The pilot workshop at MERL was based upon two main activities, both relating to sound. The first activity involved looking for objects around the museum that could have produced specific sounds that we provided on custom-built sound players (which we informally refer to as the ‘Sound Boxes’):
The sound boxes were designed to be as simple to use as possible: turn the dial to one of the six positions, press the big button and the sound will play. We have used sound recorders/players in previous workshops, but they are often very complicated to operate, and therefore require someone to assist in using them. For this pilot, members of the group were given the sound boxes and asked to try and locate the source of these sounds from around the museum. The activity itself worked very well and engaged the group members. The boxes themselves also performed very well too, and produced good clear sounds. More importantly, everyone could use them.
The sound boxes were also used in the second activity, along with various other sound making objects, to produce a soundtrack to a silent movie clip.
We are planning on extending the capabilities of the sound box to more sounds, and possibly create distinct players for different categories of sound. i.e. one for mechanical noises, one for animal sounds, etc.