Museum of Transport takes visitors on a journey through sound with Smartphones

By Culture24 Reporter | 28 June 2012
A photo of two men posing in front of orange-coloured vehicles at a transport museum
Museum of Transport volunteer John Walker (right) helps a visitor test the new soundbite system on his smartphone
At the Museum of Transport, in Manchester, 60 buses and coaches line the country’s finest yard of vintage buses. Return tickets to memory lane are rarely as evocative as the one provided by this collection, where the public can eye up the beautiful paintwork and ornate crests adorning each vehicle, the fare of twopenny bus rides, seaside coach trips and school departures.

Perhaps the only element missing is the orchestra of their engines and horns. Starting with the sound of a 1959 bus setting off from a stop, museum staff have now addressed this very issue. “It’s a really new innovation,” says soundbite project manager Adam Stephenson.

“Every bus, tram or lorry has an interpretation board in front of it, telling you about things like how many passengers it carries or what year it was built. We’ve added a QR code to that board which most modern smartphones can use. If you scan that code with your phone you’ll download a clip off the internet.”

New arrivals at a venue only a stop or two short of Manchester city centre, the clips are the first in a range of recordings planned to accompany the buses on occasional trips out.

“We’re not aware of other museums doing it and we’re only a volunteer group,” adds Stephenson. “So we’re quite proud of our idea.”

  • Click here to hear the sound of the 1959 bus (audio clip).
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