Listen Up: Arizona Musical Instrument Museum to Feature UNC Faculty Exhibit

Don Finan attached 3d ear to mannequin

August 7, 2017

Above: Professor Don Finan attaches a custom-designed 3D printed ear to the museum’s mannequin. 

An exhibit being developed by University of Northern Colorado faculty will take up permanent residence in the same museum that displays instruments from the likes of Elvis Presley and John Lennon. 

UNC Audiology & Speech-Language Sciences professors Don Finan and Deanna Meinke are collaborating on the project for the Musical Instrument Museum, which boasts a collection of 6,500 instruments including those from a host of legendary artists including the King and the famous Beatle. 

The interactive, stand-alone exhibit on the properties of sound will feature an “instrumented” mannequin, known as “Jolene.” 

“A custom designed and built Jolene will be the heart of the exhibit, allowing museum patrons to measure the sound level at which they typically listen to music,” Finan said. “The sound level (in decibels) will be displayed on a large computer monitor along with a dynamic display of associated safe listening time per day based on that specific sound level.”

Finan said he and Meinke are working with museum personnel in addition to scientists and engineers from 3M to develop accompanying educational materials and displays based upon the Dangerous Decibels® program (www.dangerousdecibels.org). “Our goal is to teach the science of sound and equip the museum patrons with the knowledge to safeguard their hearing for a lifetime of music enjoyment,” said Meinke. In addition, Finan and Meinke have developed a new custom 3D-printed ear that will be used with Jolene.

The two will travel to the Phoenix museum Aug. 10 for the installation. 

Since 2007, these UNC faculty and their students have been building mannequins equipped with sound-level meters and realistic silicone ears to measure the sound produced by personal music players. They have taken the mannequins to classrooms and health fairs to raise awareness and promote prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. The mannequins have also been produced for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Health System (NHS) in London, UK.

About MIM 

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving, and making accessible an astonishing variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world. MIM offers guests a welcoming and fun experience, incomparable interactive technology, dynamic programming, and exceptional musical performances. MIM fosters appreciation of the world’s diverse cultures by showing how we innovate, adapt, and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul. Find MIM at MIM.org