The Roaring Twenties is an interactive exploration of the historical soundscape of old New York City, it was researched by Emily Thompson and designed by Scott Mahoy. This project is the vision of Thompson, author of The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933. As a historian of sound, Thompson’s motivation for this project is “historicizing the act of listening.”
Through this site, Thompson’s book is transformed into an interactive archive that includes a mixed medium of documented sounds in New York City around 1930. This site allows you to explore magazine articles, noise complaint documents, newsreels, clippings from the New York Times and other miscellaneous noise related documents.
The layout of the site is easy to use. You can explore sounds in three ways, by type of sound, by location of sound and by time of sound. Each way is a unique and engaging experience. The sound page categorizes sound by columns. To search by sound, you will select a type of sound, (subway, people, automobiles, etc.) To search by location, you will make a selection from an area on an interactive map and to search by timeline, you will make a selection from an interactive timeline.
From the design to the layout, I believe this site is wonderfully engaging. I’m delighted by the sepia tones and the ‘old-timey’ backgrounds which fit the overall content very well. I would say that the creators did a great job, by not only providing the content, but by also providing an experience.