As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

America's Listening

Early phonograph

The museum’s new wing themed on American Culture begins in the Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture with America’s Listening, which tells the story of recorded sound and five of the innovations that contributed to how we consume music and movies today. Artifacts on view include Thomas Edison’s phonograph, Alexander Graham Bell’s graphophone, Emile Berliner’s gramophone, Ray Dolby’s noise reduction system, and Apple’s iPod.

An interactive station allows visitors to hear examples of recorded sound from each of the featured technologies.