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Museum Donors & the Sound Recovery Project

Posted on Feb 4, 2015 by in The OFI Blog |

donor pics side by side

John and Ellen Thompson are among the first to hear a recording of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice from the 1880s.


Allison Pagliaro, an intern at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) recently posted an article on the NMAH “Oh Say Can You See?” blog about the Sound Recovery Project. Over the course of her internship, Allison was able to to work with various aspects of the museum but there is one particular project that she distinguishes from the rest.

The Sound Recovery Project has affected Allison’s view on museum affairs not only because it was the first time the Smithsonian was able to listen to some of Alexander Graham Bell’s recordings of his early inventions of sound recording devices. It was because of the generous donation of artifacts by John and Ellen Thompson and their enthusiasm for the project. Because of John and Ellen’s enthusiasm, it has taught Allison that their is more to, or can be more to, donations than simply writing a check.

Read more about Allison’s experience here.