The great weight of history is at times hard to grasp, so it’s always intriguing to see how our cultural institutions of record keep the narrative going. The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located on the lower tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor, Lady Liberty, and Ellis Island, has just opened a spiffy new wing that incorporates audio technology to tell the story of its predecessors. Combining sensory architecture (a panoramic 4th floor perch created by C&G Partners) with aural ephemera (a sound installation by Potion Design), the collaborative project is designed to feature moving testimonials by emigrés recounting their experiences of arriving in America. Click through to listen to our exclusive audio clips from the exhibition Voices of Liberty.
Why it’s cool:
1. It’s dynamic: hearing stories from original sources beats slogging through a text-based exhibition.
2. It’s interactive: visitors can add their own stories to the museum’s voice database.
3. It’s tech-friendly: the room is set up as a series of listening pods with no borders; headphones plugged into an iPod touch relays audio from a program that segues into each topic at hand (in exile, first thought of America, adjusting to cultural norms, and so on).
4. It’s illuminating: Did you ever think you’d hear Dr. Ruth’s story of immigration? We didn’t think so.
Listen now to “Dreams of America,” a preview of the audio exhibition Voices of Liberty at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.