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Audio Tour National Museum of Health and Medicine

Page history last edited by Kirsty Gharavi 11 years, 6 months ago

Project Title:  Audio Tour: National Museum of Health and Medicine

Museum/ Institution: NMHM 

Program Created:   2008 

Program URL (if available):  www.nmhm.washingtondc.museum/about/audio_tours.html


Downloadable Audio Tour  www.nmhm.washingtondc.museum/about/audio/mp3/NMHMAudioTour2008.mp3

(2 hours long!)


pdf transcript of audio tour: www.nmhm.washingtondc.museum/about/audio/pdf/audiotour%20Jan09.pdf




Project Image(s) and/or Video           

Images by K. Gharavi




Media Source(s)/Credit(s):NMHM staff and K. Gharavi


Program Description: (150-250 words) This is a relatively new addition to the museum. It is a 2 hour audio tour that follows a linear flow and is mainly narrated by a male voice and, in particular sections (e.g. fertilization) a female voice. A printable pdf of the script is also available on the website. There is occasional soft music of a military genre to break sections of narration. There are 37 sections to the tour and they cover subjects from medicine in the Civil War to an explanation of an iron lung. Most sections run approximately 1 1/2 - 2 minutes and are delivered with objective, non-judgmental commentary. Although one can listen to the tour on-line, it would be most effective as a supplement to an actual visit. The NMHM have produced a highly structured, comprehensive audio tour to highlight and make accessible the objects and stories it has to convey.



Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) I visited this museum just before this audio tour was introduced. I think it's a wonderful repository of things medical and a visitor can spend hours there. I like that the museum is trying to enlarge its profile as it truly has much to offer the visitor. However, the delivery of the audio tour is a bit tedious and does not allow the visitor freedom to move around at their own pace and visit the exhibits they are most interested in. The audio tour is neutral in delivery as there is much on exhibit that could cause controversy in certain circles. For example, there is a display of distorted fetuses in glass cases which the female voice summarily describes as "abnormal development" with little, if any, explanation as to why this happens. As a governmental institution I am sure they need to follow strict guidelines and procedures. The downloadable mp3 file is huge -48 MB - which will make it very difficult for many to utilize.  There is little flexibililty as to choosing the sections you would most like to have commentary for. Searching through a 2 hour audio tour is impractical and frustrating. This is one of my favorite museums and, although I am pleased they are expanding their presence, I do wish they could have produced an audio tour that was more flexible and user-friendly. 



Technologies incorporated:  Audio recording, music



Internally or externally produced: Externally with the asistance of assorted staff, current military personnel and veterans.


Entry Contributor and Date:  Kirsty Gharavi  2/12/11


Related projects:  

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