Music to My Ears
November 18, 2007
Museum intern Mary Savig did some sleuthing on the courtyard's sound:
Usually we go to art museums to, well, look at art. Today, the Kogod Courtyard is a feast for both the eyes and the ears! As I walked amidst the crowd, I saw many people dancing to the bluegrass music of the Doug McKelway Band and I even found myself walking along to the beat.
The courtyard was designed to double as a performance space, and this must have been quite a challenge to the architects. I talked to Laura Baptiste, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Officer, about the accoustics. She pointed out that the canopy has been designed to prevent echoes. The massive steel grid that holds each of the 864 glass panels in place includes noise reducers. They are rows of aluminum rods that act as a sound barrier. For the rogue sounds that pass through the rods, a layer of recycled denim quickly absorbs them. This design allows music to circulate throughout the room without creating a cacophony of sound. Today, this was music to my ears.
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