Dolby Laboratories Founder Honored for Innovation at the Gateway to Culture and Future Entertainment Exhibition at Smithsonian
The “Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture” Opens Oct. 19 at the National Museum of American History
October 10, 2018
Visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will explore American history through culture, entertainment and the arts beginning Oct. 19 in the “Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture” which will focus on music and sound with a preview of the themes and objects in a 2020 major exhibition. “Entertaining America,” in the “Ray and Dagmar Dolby Hall of Culture.”
The “Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture” brings visitors into a series of installations centered on sound, stage, stadium and screen, including the Ruby Slippers, which return to view after an 18-month conservation. The first display is “America’s Listening” which focuses on the public’s experience with recorded sound, including five of the innovations that kept them listening: Thomas Edison’s phonograph, Alexander Graham Bell’s graphophone, Emile Berliner’s gramophone, Ray Dolby’s noise reduction system, and Apple’s iPod. This leads to the Culture Wing’s landmark object — a 14-foot stained-glass window from one of four windows that graced the tower of the Victor Company’s headquarters in Camden, New Jersey. It features what became the RCA company’s iconic trademark image of a dog “Nipper” listening to his master’s recorded voice.
In the center of the installations on the museum’s culture floor will be the Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music with side-lobby displays highlighting the museum’s jazz and classical instrument collections. Outside the music hall, will be two cases highlighting new entertainment-related additions to the arts and culture collections. A 1923 Yankee Stadium ticket booth will highlight baseball as one of the country’s favorite pastimes. Two screens will explore America through the virtual landscapes depicted in popular video games and this space will feature a seating area with charging stations. A vivid mural commissioned by the museum from the Washington, D.C. studio of No Kings Collective brings creativity, color and patterns to illustrate the concept of American culture.
The Ruby Slippers will be in a separate gallery within a state-of-the-art display case. The October opening will feature two additional artifacts related to the popular 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Entertainment provides a lens through which our visitors can better understand history and we are grateful to Dolby for making this gift and enabling us to share these popular artifacts with millions of people,” said Sue Fruchter Interim Director, National Museum of American History. “The power of culture will help our audiences discover a range of new and unexpected ways by which we can all engage in, improve and expand the promise of our democracy.”
“Ray’s story is the epitome of the American Dream,” said Dagmar Dolby, wife of Dolby Laboratories founder Ray Dolby. “After returning from military service he followed with college and began on a path to make entertainment look and sound more lifelike. His boundless curiosity made him a tremendously successful inventor and he would be thrilled to have some of his work showcased with Bell, Edison, Berliner, and Jobs.”
“Ray set the tone for multigenerational innovation in music, television, and film that has continued for more than five decades,” said Andy Sherman, EVP and General Counsel at Dolby Laboratories. “His legacy lives on through the immersive entertainment experiences that Dolby creates for the eyes and ears throughout the world and the inventor’s DNA that remains at the core of everything we do.”
“Entertaining America,” scheduled to open in late 2020, is a major exhibition that will explore American history through the longstanding power of entertainment and will examine the deep and enduring influence of our nation's entertainment. The nearly 7,000-square-foot exhibition will examine how entertainment brings Americans together, shapes us and provides a forum for important national conversations about politics, society, culture and what it means to be an American. The exhibition will focus on the culture makers who broke barriers, changed our American sound and transformed sports, movies, theater, television—and the national audience. In an immersive introductory experience, the simply stated key message, “Americans Love Entertainment,” will be reinforced with exciting media elements to show why entertainment matters.
The “Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture” leading to the newly named Ray and Dagmar Dolby Hall of American Culture where the “Entertaining America” exhibition will be located was made possible in part by a $5 million contribution from the Dolby family. Renovations to the 270 seat Warner Bros. Theater, at the main entrance of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, is scheduled to be completed in 2020 utilizing in-kind contributions from Dolby Laboratories to create a modern cinema to ensure a truly immersive audio and visual experience.
About Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB) creates audio, video, and voice technologies that transform entertainment and communications in mobile devices, at the cinema, at home, and at work. For more than 50 years, sight and sound experiences have become more vibrant, clear, and powerful in Dolby. For more information, please visit www.dolby.com.
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About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit https://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
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