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Doc Watson

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Focusing on the life and music of the Doc Watson, American roots music legend. Smithsonian Folkways archivist Jeff Place shares stories and plays songs and interviews to demonstrate the Doc Watson "style."

Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

Jim Henson's Fantastic World

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

American Letterpress, The Art of Hatch Show Print: Why Does Hatch Matter?

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

Georgia Foodways, Episode 1

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

Georgia Foodways, Special Feature 1

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

Georgia Foodways, Special Feature 2

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts

This Episode Smells

Smithsonian Institution

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

Dream Blues; Lost Wandering Blues

National Museum of American History
Ma Rainey. side 1: Dream Blues; side 2: Lost Wandering Blues (Paramount 12098)

78 rpm

Volta Laboratory Experimental Sound Recording, Green Wax on Brass Disc

National Museum of American History
This is an experimental sound recording made in the Volta Laboratory, Washington, D.C., about 1884. The wax, poured into a brass holder, has been dyed a bright green. Sound was recovered from this recording in 2011. Content summary: Hamlet’s soliloquy Content transcript (17 seconds): “To be, or not to be: that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? To die, to sleep…” References: Patrick Feaster, “A Discography of Volta Laboratory Recordings at the National Museum of American History” Leslie J. Newville, “Development of the Phonograph at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory,” in Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, United States National Museum Bulletin 218, Paper 5 (1959): 69-79. Steven E. Schoenherr, “Charles Sumner Tainter and the Graphophone,” Wile, Raymond R. "The Development of Sound Recording at the Volta Laboratory," Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal 21, No. 2, 1990, pp. 208-225.

Experimental Sound Recording, Disc Layers of Cardboard, Plaster and Foil

National Museum of American History
This is an experimental sound recording made in the Volta Laboratory, Washington, D.C. In a ring around the center, it is marked with the initials for Sumner Tainter, one of the Volta Laboratory Associates, and a date: “S.T. Dec. 29th 1881.” This recording was copied from an 1881 master at an unknown later date. Sound was recovered from this recording in 2013. Content transcript: “…[indistinct] I am a magnetical graphophone. What are you? To be, or not to be: that is the question. [trilled r sounds] How is that for high?” References: Patrick Feaster, “A Discography of Volta Laboratory Recordings at the National Museum of American History” Leslie J. Newville, “Development of the Phonograph at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory,” in Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, United States National Museum Bulletin 218, Paper 5 (1959): 69-79.

Volta Laboratory Experimental Recording

National Museum of American History
This is an experimental sound recording made in the Volta Laboratory, Washington, D.C., on 11 March 1885. The recording process involved focusing a beam of light, projecting it through a liquid, and causing sound waves to interrupt both the light and the liquid to expose a prepared photographic plate. The recording, which starts at the center and spirals outward, is of variable density, that is the areas of exposure vary in density according to volume and pitch of the sound recorded. Process is described in U.S. Patent 341,213 awarded Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester A. Bell, and Charles Sumner Tainter on 4 May 1886. Sound was recovered from this recording in 2011. Content summary: “Mary had a little lamb” Content transcript (37 seconds): “ [?]…Sumner Tainter and H. G. Rogers. This eleventh day of March, eighteen hundred and eighty-five. [trilled r sound] [indistinct phrase] Mary had a little lamb, and its fleece was white as snow [alternatively, black as soot?] . And wherever Mary went…Oh [indistinct word]. Mary had a little lamb, and its fleece was white as snow [alternatively, black as soot?]. And wherever Mary went, the little lamb was sure to go. How is this for high? [trill]” References: Patrick Feaster, “A Discography of Volta Laboratory Recordings at the National Museum of American History” Leslie J. Newville, “Development of the Phonograph at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory,” in Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, United States National Museum Bulletin 218, Paper 5 (1959): 69-79. Steven E. Schoenherr, “Charles Sumner Tainter and the Graphophone,” Wile, Raymond R. "The Development of Sound Recording at the Volta Laboratory," Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal 21, No. 2, 1990, pp. 208-225.
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